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ACAS publishes new guidance on managing redundancy for employees who are pregnant or on maternity leave

Many employers are unsure how they should manage a redundancy situation where an employee is pregnant or on maternity leave. In response, ACAS and the Equality and Human Rights Commission have published a “good practice guide” to help employers handle such redundancy situations fairly.

The guide explains the law around pregnancy and maternity protection and provides a checklist for managing redundancies fairly. It sets out the following four main questions that employers should ask:

  1. Is the redundancy genuine?
  2. How do I consult with employees on maternity leave? (failure to consult a woman on maternity leave about possible redundancy is likely to be unlawful discrimination)
  3. How do I decide the right selection criteria? (selecting a woman for redundancy because of her pregnancy or maternity leave is automatically unfair dismissal as well as being unlawful discrimination)
  4. Is there a suitable alternative vacancy for the employee? (a woman at risk of redundancy while on maternity leave must be offered a suitable alternative vacancy if there is one)

There are also helpful answers to common questions and examples of scenarios.

Essentially, provided that there is a genuine redundancy situation and that you have followed a fair procedure, used appropriate criteria for selection and carried out a proper consultation you can carry out a fair redundancy process for those who are pregnant or on maternity leave.

A copy of the new guidance is available here.

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