Get maternity or paternity leave wrong and it will cost you dearly

Maternity and paternity leave can be complex – and costly 

Despite regular headlines showing that women returning to work after being on maternity leave are being discriminated against it’s sadly not getting any better.
A recent case from an employment tribunal in Liverpool highlights that the risk to employers does not solely come from an intentional act of discrimination. Sometimes, mistaken assumptions can lead to a tribunal case.
The case involved an employee who had requested to go from full-time work to a job share and three-day week following her first pregnancy. Around the time of her second pregnancy, a restructuring took place, with most roles at her workplace put at risk.
The employee wished to be considered for one of six new roles being created. She was persuaded to consider this as a job share (with another pregnant employee) but wished to be considered on a full-time basis should the job share not work out.
The employee’s application was unsuccessful and she was eventually made redundant.
Although a structured selection process was followed involving scoring candidates on a selection matrix, the court found that her treatment was unfair and discriminatory. During the process, it was assumed that the job share would suit both pregnant employees. Neither was properly scored as an individual candidate. One of the managers involved was also found to have treated the employee unfairly.
Maternity and paternity leave can be complex and if you end up in a tribunal, the cost of getting it wrong will be high as discrimination has an unlimited award so please take advice first. You might also like: Maternity and adoption leave made easy 
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Ian heads up the HR Dept Edinburgh & the Lothians team. The HR Dept specialises in helping SMEs with everything to with employment, through a local and personal service delivering practical and pragmatic advice and support. With nearly 30 years HR experience, Ian has a wealth of experience in helping businesses to ensure success through their people, be legally compliant and handle tricky people issues. As a business owner himself, Ian understands the challenges that come with running and growing a business. He is known for his ability to explain complex concepts simply and to make learning fun and enjoyable.