The current position is that if a redundancy situation arises whilst the employee is on maternity leave then she must be consulted where there is a potential redundancy situation and a fair procedure must be followed, notwithstanding the employee’s absence on maternity leave.

If an employee’s position is made redundant whilst she is on maternity leave, she is entitled to be offered a suitable alternative vacancy, where one is available. She should be offered any suitable alternative roles before other employees and does not have to attend interviews or selection procedures.

If an employee is made redundant whilst on maternity leave then she is entitled to the same rights as an employee not on maternity leave.

The Government’s consultation on pregnancy and maternity discrimination will:

  • Set out the current legal protections for pregnant women and new mothers under the Equality Act 2010 and the Employment Rights Act 1996
  • Ask how an extension of redundancy protection currently afforded under the Employment Rights Act for those on maternity leave and other types of family related leave and pay might work best, and how long this protection should last
  • Ask whether a similar protection should be afforded to other groups (such as those returning from other forms of long term childcare leave – principally adoption leave and shared parental leave)
  • Set out the steps that the government is taking to increase employees awareness of their rights and employers’ awareness of their obligations, and invites comments on how they might be improved, to tackle pregnancy and maternity discrimination more effectively
  • Consider the existing approach to the enforcement of employment and equalities legislation in the context of recommendations from the Women and Equalities Select Committee and the Taylor Review
  • Discuss the three month time limit within which a claim of discrimination can ordinarily be brought to an Employment Tribunal

The consultation will be available on GOV.UK, and will run for 10 weeks ending on 5 April 2019.