Additional redundancy protection

The Maternity Leave, Adoption Leave and Shared Parental Leave (Amendment) Regulations (‘the MASPA Regulations’) introduce additional redundancy protections with effect from 6 April 2024.

During the protected period, a female employee has enhanced protections from redundancy. If a redundancy situation arises, then that employee must be offered a suitable alternative role in preference to anyone else.

The MASPA Regulations extend the period of protection after returning to work from relevant family-related leave, referred to as the ‘additional protected period’, until 18 months after the expected week of childbirth or date of birth or, in adoption cases, the child’s placement or date of entry into Great Britain. So instead of the protected period ending the day that female employee returns to work, the protected period will now last for 18 months from the expected week of childbirth (or the date that the child is born if the employer is informed).

This is a notable change in the law. In practice, female employees will have enhanced protections for at least six months after they return to the office, ensuring that they do not face redundancy immediately after returning from maternity leave.

Furthermore, if a female employee’s work has been redistributed among colleagues, then it will be one of those colleagues facing redundancy if there is a restructure during the extended protected period.

It is recommended that employers seek legal advice where there are proposed restructures to the workplace or proposed changes to the role undertaken by female employees returning from maternity leave to avoid any potential claims.

Need to know more?

If you have any queries about this or any other matter regarding employment law, please do not hesitate to contact Carmel Sunley.