Protection Against Redundancy | QCS

Protection Against Redundancy

May 28, 2024

Employees who have taken parental leave, namely maternity leave, adoption leave, or shared parental leave, have always been afforded protection in a redundancy situation. Before making an employee on parental leave redundant, employers must offer them a suitable alternative vacancy where one is available in priority to anyone else selected for redundancy.

This protection previously only applied during the period of absence on parental leave. However, as of 6 April 2024, employees are afforded greater protection.

Pregnancy

Previously, there was no protection for employees during the period of pregnancy. However, as of 6 April 2024, employees who are pregnant will now be protected from the date which they inform their employer of the pregnancy. This new protection will cover the whole period of pregnancy but will only apply where an employer is informed of the pregnancy on or after 6 April 2024.

Maternity leave

Under the new rules, where maternity leave ends on or after 6 April 2024, employees will be protected for 18 months from the first day of the estimated week of childbirth. This period can be adjusted to start from the child’s actual date of birth by notifying your employer in writing of the relevant date during maternity leave.

Please note that if an employee experiences a miscarriage before 24 weeks of the pregnancy, they will have protection throughout their pregnancy and for a further two weeks following the miscarriage. If an employee suffers a miscarriage beyond 24 weeks of pregnancy (which is classed as a still birth), they are entitled to take maternity leave and will have the same protection as any other employee taking maternity leave.

Adoption leave

Under the new rules, where adoption leave ends on or after 6 April 2024, employees will be protected for a period of 18 months from the date of placement for adoption.

Shared parental leave

Under the new rules, employees taking shared parental leave (SPL) are protected for 18 months from the date of birth/placement (for adoption) provided that the employee is taking a period of at least 6 consecutive weeks of SPL. This protection will not apply if the employee is already protected under maternity/adoption leave. If the employee takes less than 6 consecutive weeks of SPL, they will only be protected during the period of absence.

This new protection shall apply where the period of 6 consecutive weeks of SPL starts on or after 6 April.

Practical considerations for employers

  1. Update the company policy – employers should update their policy on redundancy and parental leave (including maternity, adoption and shared parental leave) to reflect the new changes.
  2. Inform staff – employees should be aware of the new rights, and managers should be aware that protection can arise from the moment that the employee informs them of their pregnancy.
  3. Train managers – make sure that managers are aware of the changes and the additional rights.
  4. Redundancy situations – employers should consider how the new rules will affect any decisions. Employers should take advice if considering redundancies that will affect protected employees.
AfterAthena
AfterAthena

Employment Law Specialists

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