Dismissal on the grounds of Pregnancy or Maternity
A woman will automatically be regarded as unfairly dismissed if her employer
dismisses her, or selects her for redundancy, because she is pregnant or has
given birth to a child, or for a reason connected with her pregnancy or childbirth.
employees are entitled to 26 weeks' maternity leave provided that they satisfy
certain notification requirements. If such employees have completed 26 weeks
continuous employment by the beginning of the 14th week before the expected
week of childbirth they are entitled to an additional period of maternity leave.
maternity leave lasts for up to a further 26 weeks starting from the end of
ordinary maternity leave.
A woman may make a complaint of automatic unfair dismissal,
regardless of her length of service, in any of the following circumstances:
- the dismissal is for a reason connected with her pregnancy;
- the dismissal
is on the grounds that she has given birth and takes place during her ordinary
or additional maternity leave;
- the dismissal is on the grounds that she
took, sought to take or availed herself of the benefits of ordinary maternity
leave, or that she took or
sought to take
additional maternity leave;
- the dismissal is on grounds of a health and
safety provision which could give rise to a maternity suspension;
- she is
unfairly selected for redundancy for any of the above reasons;
- the dismissal
is on grounds of redundancy, it takes place during her ordinary or additional
maternity leave, and the employer has not first
complied with the
requirement to offer her any suitable alternative vacancy which is available.
addition, it is unlawful to dismiss an employee who does not return from
her maternity leave on time because:
- her employer has not properly notified
her of the date it ends and she reasonably believes it has not ended; or
employer has given her less than 28 days' notice of the date it ends and
it is not reasonably practicable for her to return on that date.
who is not given her job back, or offered a suitable alternative job, at
the end of additional maternity leave will not be regarded
as unfairly dismissed if the employer can show an employment tribunal that:
- it was not reasonably practicable (on grounds other than redundancy) for
her to be taken back in her original job or a suitable alternative
job and an associated
employer had offered her suitable alternative employment which she
had either accepted or unreasonably refused; or
- it was not reasonably practicable
for her to be taken back in her original job or to be offered a suitable
alternative job and the employer (together
associated employers) employed only five or fewer people (including
the employee herself) at the point when her additional maternity leave period
If a woman is made redundant during her ordinary or additional maternity
leave period, she may be entitled to a redundancy payment. However,
if she was offered
a suitable vacancy and unreasonably refused it, she may lose
her right to a redundancy payment.
In addition, employees have the right
not to be subjected to detrimental treatment on the grounds of pregnancy,
childbirth or maternity.