Dealing with employees who are pregnant and those on maternity leave can give employers headaches in a redundancy situation. This is further exacerbated by the fact that a woman who is on maternity leave has the right of first refusal to any suitable alternative role if her role disappears during any redundancy or restructure process. This effectively puts her first in the queue ahead of any other colleague who may also wish to apply for the role.
ACAS and the Equality and Human Rights Commission have produced a guide on managing redundancy situations, where an employee is pregnant or on maternity leave, in an attempt to clarify any ambiguity for employers and to assist employers handle redundancy situations fairly.
The guide sets out the legislation relating to pregnancy and maternity leave and a checklist for managing redundancies fairly. When considering whether a redundancy is fair, employers should ensure:
- The redundancy a genuine redundancy
- Consultation with employees takes place
- Non-discriminatory selection criteria is established
- A suitable alternative vacancy has been considered, and if the employee is on maternity leave, offered
The new guidance is available from the ACAS website here.