When does the Duty to Offer a Suitable Alternative Job to a Redundant Woman on Maternity Leave Arise

When does the Duty to Offer a Suitable Alternative Job to a Redundant Woman on Maternity Leave Arise?

A woman on maternity leave during a redundancy situation has the right to be offered a suitable alternative vacancy by virtue of regulation 10 of the Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations 1999. Failure to comply with this requirement will render a dismissal automatically unfair.

The Employment Appeals Tribunal (“EAT”) considered the point at which the duty arises in Sefton Borough Council v Wainwright UKEAT/0168/14 and concluded that this should be when the employer first becomes aware that her role is or may be redundant.

This suggests that employers should note the exact point in time when a redundancy situation or restructure arises and offer any alternative position from then onwards. Whilst there is no exact science on how likely a redundancy would need to be in order for the duty to be activated, a practical way forward for employers may be to regard the duty as arising when it notifies the employee that she may be at risk.

There has been little case law on this point to date; this provides us with some helpful guidance.

For advice on discrimination and employment law, please contact Niki Avraam at Howat Avraam Solicitors at niki.avraam@hasolicitors.co.uk

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