Common scenarios

Since telling my employer I am pregnant he has stopped giving me interesting work or taking me to important meetings and is sidelining me. Is he allowed to do this?

Your employer should not treat you unfavourably because of your pregnancy or your maternity leave. If you think the reason he is leaving you out is because of your pregnancy then this is discrimination.

My employer won’t let me have paid time off to go to antenatal classes. He says I have to take annual leave for them. Is he allowed to do this?

You are entitled to reasonable paid time off during working hours for the purpose of receiving ante-natal care including medical appointments and relaxation classes if recommended by a health authority.

I am on maternity leave and my employer says I may be made redundant. Can they do this?

Yes, you can be made redundant while you are on maternity leave. However your employer must:

  • show that there is a real redundancy situation and not use redundancy as an excuse to dismiss you,
  • consult you at the same time as other employees about the redundancy,
  • not use redundancy selection criteria which disadvantage you because of your pregnancy, pregnancy related absence or maternity leave,
  • not select you for redundancy for a reason relating to your absence,
  • ensure that you are not disadvantaged (as a result of your leave) by the procedure for deciding who should be made redundant,
  • offer you the first choice of any suitable alternative job if you are made redundant while on maternity leave.

I returned to work after maternity leave to find that my employer has moved me to a different position. The new role has less responsibility and a lower salary. Can they do this?

You have the right to return to the same job as before.

The exception is when you have taken additional maternity leave (the full 52 weeks). In this case you have the right to return to the same job unless this is not reasonably practicable, when you should be given a suitable alternative job on the same or better pay and conditions as your old job. However, if the reason why you were not given the same job back was because of your maternity leave, for example because your employer prefers your maternity locum, this will be discrimination.

I want to work flexibly when I return from maternity leave. Can I do this? 

If you are an employee with a child under the age of 17 or a disabled child under the age of 18, you can request flexible working, which includes part-time work and working from home. Your employer must follow a statutory procedure and they can refuse your request if they have good business reasons for doing so.  But, refusing flexible working may also be sex discrimination – see the sex discrimination factsheet.