Redundancy after Maternity Leave

If a Redundancy programme begins which could potentially affect your role whilst you are on maternity leave, the company is legally obliged to contact you and inform you of this. If they don’t, and you hear of it through other means, you should contact your manager and the HR department in order to get more information.

An employee can be made redundant when on maternity leave; however, there would have to be very strong evidence that the redundancy situation was genuine and that all attempts to avoid it had been made by the company.

Companies have to take particular care when handling redundancy situations where pregnant employees are involved, in order to avoid the risk of allegations of unfair dismissal/ and or sex discrimination. If a suitable, alternative role is available this must be given to the employee on maternity leave.

If you would like to know more about your employment rights during Maternity Leave, why not attend one of our classes?

Sarah’s ‘Top Tips’ for Maternity Returners

Start preparing for your return before you go;

Many women are so (understandably) distracted at the thought of their new baby and also exhausted by the time they go off on Maternity leave, that they do not plan for their return to work. It’s easy to think ‘I will worry about that when I get back’ but in my experience, women who have found returning easier, have been the ones who have planned in advance.

Preparation could include being involved in hiring the person who will ‘cover’ your role and even doing a handover with them to ensure that you have peace of mind that your role will be competently covered in your absence. This will lower your stress levels during your leave and ensure you feel less insecure when you return.

Use the Keeping in Touch Days which you are entitled to;

I have found women do not always use the Keeping In Touch Days which they are legally entitled to take and be paid for, during Maternity Leave. Women often think it is the responsibility of the Manager/Company to contact them about using them and the Manager/Company will often not want to bother the woman when she is on leave or will think she should tell them when she wants to use them.

If there is a special work event, a new employee joins or there is a a new product launch, these could be good examples of days when you could go into work. By doing so, and also potentially even asking for your manager to use a couple of the days to just update you over the phone/via Skype on what has been happening in your absence, you will not feel so nervous and out of your depth when you return to work. Additionally the working environment (instead of the usual nursery or playroom!) will not feel quite so foreign to you!

Think about Childcare well in advance;

Women often leave thinking about childcare arrangements until the last minute and then rush to find something, before they return. Leaving your precious baby for the first time will be difficult enough, without having to worry if they will like the new nursery, nanny or childminder! Ensure you start thinking about childcare at least 4 months before you return. Have trial sessions with any nannies or nursery groups. Leave your child for a day, or at least a morning and see how they (and you) cope! This will make your first day back at work much easier and perhaps a little less tear filled!

Most importantly empower yourself;

All of the above tips are about empowering yourself! This is the key to a smooth transition back into the workplace. Don’t leave things to chance, but take control!

Remember from April 2015 the law changes and Fathers are entitled to 26 weeks paid Paternity Leave, if the Mother returns to work. It will be interesting to see how many Fathers take this up and how this may affect the future dynamics of family life! ‘Paternity Coaching’ could be the next big thing!

Health at work when pregnant

Comments from Simone Ross, Osteopath, Kane and Ross Clinics, W1 & SW5.  Specialising in the Osteopathic care of ante and post-natal women and newborn babies.

50% of women have back pain or pelvic pain  during their pregnancy but ‘pain is not normal in pregnancy’ otherwise everyone would have it!  Most pain can also be helped so do not endure pain whilst you are pregnant it will alter your posture, reduce your sleep and increase your stress levels.

30% of women who have back pain during pregnancy will have back pain post-natally.  A good diagnosis is important and a plan of action ante and post-natally will help prevent problems.  If you are getting pelvic (pubic pain) you should see someone as soon as possible.

Your body goes through a huge physical change which involves the spine changing the shape of its curves,  if there is a problem it is usually your body struggling to adapt to your new pregnancy posture which causes muscular and joint pain.

Things that you can do at work to help;
– Get your ergonomics assessed – sit with your pelvis about your knees, do not cross your legs.
– Get up from your desk frequently every 20 mins just walk around and sit down again.
– Continue your exercise programme until advised to stop or modify it.  The fitter you are the easier your pregnancy and delivery will be.  Try and exercise 2-3 times per week. It will help with aches and pains and improve your sleep.
– Sit up not only to protect your back but also to allow food to digest and avoid heart burn.
– Eat something small 2 hourly, rather than a big meal avoid acidic foods if you have heartburn (coffee, red meat, oranges, and tomatoes).  Drink lots of water about 2 litres.
– Stretch regularly at your desk if you can.

When to get professional help – see a specialist, not a massage therapist if you are getting regular back pain (2-3 times per week) or have a previous history prior to being pregnant.  Your private insurance companies may cover treatment.    (Sarah speak to me about this).

Post-natally it is common to have headaches and pain in the upper back and neck from carrying and feeding your baby, try some neck stretches at work, and watch your posture as you are much weaker through the abdominals.  If stretches do not help seek Osteopathic help.

Remember being healthy and relaxed when pregnant is good for the growing baby inside of you. Look after yourself, as well as your career!

If you are concerned about how to cope when pregnant at work, you may want to attend one of our Maternity Returner Career classes which covers the transitional stages from pregnancy at work, going off on Maternity Leave, to returning after Maternity Leave. See our Services and Fees section for more details or email