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Can I Be Made Redundant When Pregnant?

By: Emma Eilbeck BA (hons) - Updated: 4 Sep 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Redundancy Redundant Pregnancy Employer

Being made redundant can be hard to cope with at the best of times, but when you are pregnant and expecting a new arrival it can be a big blow.

Most employers will try and avoid making pregnant employees redundant, but when it comes to the law pregnant women are seen in the same light as any other employees and an employer has every right to make you redundant.

These few questions should help you assess whether you can be made redundant and what it will mean for your statutory maternity pay.

1) How Long is it Until You Have the Baby?

  • A) I am still working and it is due in the next two months
  • B) It is due in around 15 weeks
  • C) I am only three months pregnant

2) How Long Have You Been at the Firm?

  • A) Over five years
  • B) Around two years
  • C) Less than two years

3) What is the Reason For Your Redundancy?

  • A) The firm is closing/we have lost a large contract
  • B) To cut costs, we are overstaffed
  • C) I have not been given a reason for my redundancy

4) Do You Have Any Reason to Suspect Your Redundancy is Because You Are Pregnant?

  • A) No, not at all
  • B) I have my suspicions
  • C) I was told it was because I was pregnant

Your Answers

Mostly A – You Are in a Good Position Financially

If you have no reason to suspect foul play when being made redundant it is important to try and find a silver lining and look at the positives. If your employer has genuinely gone out of business or the firm has lost a significant contract it suggests your redundancy is genuine and not because of your pregnancy.

If you are still working for up to 15 weeks before your baby is due this means you will still be entitled to your maternity pay – even if you are not in employment. In this scenario your employer may choose to give you this in one lump sum. If you have been at the firm for over two years you should also be entitled to the normal redundancy package on top of your maternity pay, providing there are no financial worries at the firm.

Mostly B – Some Questions Remain Over Your Redundancy

If you have any suspicions about how genuine your redundancy is you should immediately contact a solicitor or your trade union. From your answers it sounds like you are on the borderline in terms of what you will qualify for.

If your employer makes you redundant before 15 weeks of your due date you will not be entitled to any maternity pay. It is also bad news if you have not been working at the firm for more than two years as you may not be entitled to any redundancy pay.

Mostly C – You May Have Been Dismissed Unfairly

If you have been told directly that you have been made redundant because you are pregnant you should seek legal advice immediately as this could be good cause to sue for unfair dismissal.

If you suspect it is because you are pregnant but you have not been given a reason for your redundancy you should ask them to give a substantial reason as to why you are losing your job. If after this you feel you have been treated unfairly you should also consider seeking legal advice. Some firms can use redundancy as an excuse to cover up letting you go because you are pregnant.

If you have not passed your 15 week period you will not be entitled to your maternity pay and your employer will need to provide you with evidence as to why you have been let go.

Being pregnant can be a stressful time, you’re worried about money, your job and the new arrival. For some being made redundant when pregnant can seem like a kick in the teeth, but for others it can be a chance to start afresh with a big redundancy pay off in their pocket.

If however you suspect your pregnancy is the reason for your redundancy it is important that you seek legal advice as you could have a case to claim for unfair dismissal.

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[Add a Comment]
I have been told my job is at risk of redundancy in February. My maternity ended in April, after the consultation period. I then went off sick. My employer told me they have no duty to offer me alternative role, as my maternity ended in April so I could participate in recruitment as everyone else. I have been away from the business for over a year, so it still doesn't seem fair.
Olaaa - 4-Sep-18 @ 11:23 PM
Hi I am 12 weeks pregnant and I have been told from my employer that they are selling the business. Am I entitled to SMP if they sell it before my 15 weeks due to maternity leave and can I be redundant by this time? I have worked over 2 years for them. Thank you for any advice.
Jjenna - 27-May-18 @ 2:55 AM
Morgan- Your Question:
I’ve just been made redundant at my firm, I’m 7 weeks pregnant, the firm as been in difficulties and people were made redundant before me, but there haven’t been any indication that my job was at real risk, I was also put on a first aid course that I completed 2 weeks ago I was put on that before they new I was pregnant, just seems that after I told them I’m pregnant I’ve been selected for redundancy, they used a point system to select people, there’s 9 altogether that are being laid off

Our Response:
Remember, redundancy means the job you do is no longer required, not the person. So, if you think you personally have been discriminated against because you are pregnant and there is no real reason to make your position redundant, then you may have a case. It's always tricky to be able to define, the main thing you need to establish is whether you feel the redundancy is genuine? You can see more via the CAB link here. If this does not answer your question, then give Acas a call.
RedundancyExpert - 1-May-18 @ 11:40 AM
I’ve just been made redundant at my firm, I’m 7 weeks pregnant, the firm as been indifficulties and people were made redundant before me, but there haven’t been any indication that my job was at real risk, I was also put on a first aid course that I completed 2 weeks ago I was put on that before they new I was pregnant, just seems that after I told them I’m pregnant I’ve been selected for redundancy, they used a point system to select people, there’s 9 altogether that are being laid off
Morgan - 30-Apr-18 @ 3:08 PM
I am in a bit of a situation. I have just found out I am pregnant. At the same time I found out that the company I work for is in a very bad situation financially and they might go under administration soon. Given that I have not announced my pregnancy yet, would I benefit from any protection against redundancy? Would announcing my pregnancy offer me any sort of protection? Thank you in advance for your advice!
AG - 24-Apr-18 @ 8:53 PM
Diana F - Your Question:
Hi, I am 21 week pregnant and my employer just handed me my redundancy letter. According to my contract I have one month of work after the notice has been made. This means that eventually I will be working for my company for full 25 weeks. Does this mean that in this case I am protected by law and can't be made redundant as I reach 25 weeks?Thank you in advance!Diana

Our Response:
The Maternity Action link here , should help answer your question.
RedundancyExpert - 8-Feb-18 @ 10:00 AM
Hi, I am 21 week pregnant and my employer just handed me my redundancy letter. According to my contract I have one month of work after the notice has been made. This means that eventually I will be working for my company for full 25 weeks. Does this mean that in this case I am protected by law and can't be made redundant as I reach 25 weeks? Thank you in advance! Diana
Diana F - 7-Feb-18 @ 2:54 PM
Hi. I've been made redundant while being 4-5 months pregnant (I told my employer I was pregnant way before that). My employer advised the department would close in a few months and only 1 person would be needed to close it. I was planning to go on maternity leave around that time, unfortunately for me my employer didn't seem to care. Thankfully I've been awarded maternity allowance however I'm worried about my eligibility to claim child benefit and I'm wondering what will happen to me when my maternity allowance stops... For example, will I still be able to get free NHS care?
Amy - 22-Dec-17 @ 12:56 PM
Ana - Your Question:
Hi.I'm 26 weeks pregnant and been working in the same company for 2years and 8 months and today they told me Im redundant. Can they do this? Do I have some rights?

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. You can find all you need to know via the gov.uk link here and here.
RedundancyExpert - 2-Nov-17 @ 10:18 AM
Hi.I'm 26 weeks pregnant and been working in the same company for 2years and 8 months and today they told me Im redundant. Can they do this? Do I have some rights?
Ana - 1-Nov-17 @ 6:53 PM
I work for my company for about 7 months and I'm 18 weeks pregnant. I informed my boss about pregnancy recently and he told me that buissnes may face closing down in couple of weeks (which means that I will be redundant then). I'm not sure what my rights are now and if I still be entitled for maternity leave. Thanks.
Julia - 1-Jun-17 @ 12:12 PM
John - Your Question:
My wife has been handed a redundancy risk letter. She's 1 week away from the 15 week before the due date threshold. She's been working at this firm form 8.5 years.Only 2 other people in the company department were handed a redundancy risk letter (total employees in the department about 15 people), and these do not share the same job title or expertise, so I fail to see why they can be in such a small pool for redundancy. Is that illegal?Of course they didn't tell her that she's going to be fired because she's pregnant (is anybody actually ever saying that?) - however they did tell her that the other people who are actually doing her job are not in the redundancy pool because the company needs them in order to go and work on oil rigs (which she cannot do at the moment despite being perfectly qualified for it because of her pregnancy). Hence they're firing her because she's pregnant, surely?What do you suggest? Are we going to get maternity pay? What's the chance of success if we go ahead and sue them for unfair dismissal and discrimination?

Our Response:
In this instance, your wife would have to give ACAS or her union a call in order to see whether she has a case to answer. As ACAS specifies, her company should ensure there is fair procedure for considering suitable alternative work. During the protected period unfavourable treatment of a woman because she is pregnant or on maternity leave is unlawful.
RedundancyExpert - 24-May-17 @ 10:19 AM
My wife has been handed a redundancy risk letter. She's 1 week away from the 15 week before the due date threshold. She's been working at this firm form 8.5 years. Only 2 other people in the company department were handed a redundancy risk letter (total employees in the department about 15 people), and these do not share the same job title or expertise, so I fail to see why they can be in such a small pool for redundancy. Is that illegal? Of course they didn't tell her that she's going to be fired because she's pregnant (is anybody actually ever saying that?) - however they did tell her that the other people who are actually doing her job are not in the redundancy pool because the company needs them in order to go and work on oil rigs (which she cannot do at the moment despite being perfectly qualified for it because of her pregnancy). Hence they're firing her because she's pregnant, surely? What do you suggest? Are we going to get maternity pay? What's the chance of success if we go ahead and sue them for unfair dismissal and discrimination?
John - 23-May-17 @ 9:08 AM
Dean - Your Question:
I was told the company I was working for was closing & I was going to be made redundant. It was a large company employing a lot of people, as I didn't want to be left behind in my job search & I started looking straight away as there aren't many jobs around. I was lucky & got a job a couple of weeks before the company closed. I didn't want to lose this opportunity, so I handed my notice in & left. I was told to file for redundancy, which I did. Administrators were appointed 11/12/2015. I received redundancy in due course. This week I received an email telling me I wasn't entitled to redundancy & I have to pay back what I received.I'm not sure of my rights, but as I wouldn't have left had I not been told of my & the company position, surely I was entitled to redundancy. I hope you can help

Our Response:
If you handed your notice in and left before redundancy officially took place, you may not have been eligible to apply. You may wish to read the correspondence outlining the terms of your redundancy which should help answer your question.
RedundancyExpert - 26-Apr-17 @ 2:14 PM
I was told the company I was working for was closing & I was going to be made redundant. It was a large company employing a lot of people, as I didn't want to be left behind in my job search & I started looking straight away as there aren't many jobs around. I was lucky & got a job a couple of weeks before the company closed. I didn't want to lose this opportunity,so I handed my notice in & left. I was told to file for redundancy, which I did. Administrators were appointed 11/12/2015. I received redundancy in due course. This week I received an email telling me I wasn't entitled to redundancy & I have to pay back what I received. I'm not sure of my rights, but as I wouldn't have left had I not been told of my & the company position, surely I was entitled to redundancy. I hope you can help
Dean - 25-Apr-17 @ 6:32 PM
Rusty - Your Question:
My daughter is a Nanny and has worked for her employer for over 2 years. she is 27 weeks pregnant and is going to work up to as close to her due date as possible. She has just returned to work after 3 weeks off due to her fathers unexpected and untimely death on 27 January (he was 55). Due to her being his next of kin you can imagine all the arrangements and legal things she has had to cope with. Her employers asked if she could return to work on 31 January, however she felt she wasn't in a fit state of mind as she was (and still is) grieving. She returned to work yesterday to be told she is getting made redundant!! Since telling her employer she was pregnant their attitude towards her has changed dramatically and she feels this has come about because she is expecting. Her due date is June 7th. Any advice would be much appreciated.

Our Response:
In addition to the information in the article, please see the gov.uk link here regarding unfair dismissal. Dismissal may also be found to be unfair if the employer has not followed statutory dismissal and disciplinary procedures or if the employer can be shown not to have acted “reasonably” to your daughter. You can see more about unfair redundancy here. Your daughter may also wish to give ACAS a call in order to explore her options. She would also be advised to read her contract prior to this.
RedundancyExpert - 22-Feb-17 @ 10:53 AM
My daughter is a Nanny and has worked for her employer for over 2 years.she is 27 weeks pregnant and is going to work up to as close to her due date as possible. She has just returned to work after 3 weeks off due to her fathers unexpected and untimely death on 27 January (he was 55).Due to her being his next of kin you can imagine all the arrangements and legal things she has had to cope with.Her employers asked if she could return to work on 31 January, however she felt she wasn't in a fit state of mind as she was (and still is) grieving.She returned to work yesterday to be told she is getting made redundant!! Since telling her employer she was pregnant their attitude towards her has changed dramatically and she feels this has come about because she is expecting.Her due date is June 7th. Any advice would be much appreciated.
Rusty - 21-Feb-17 @ 12:30 PM
I am being made redundant next April 2017 and have until that time to find a new position within my company. I have just found out I am pregnant therefore I am not likely to get a new position at the moment. Where do I stand?
Csmith - 27-Apr-16 @ 3:19 PM
My company has just been taken over by a listed multinational, and we knew 'efficiencies' were on the cards. I've just been informed I'm at risk of redundancy and have been invited to a 'consultation' meeting. I am currently 16 weeks pregnant(my employers are aware). I would happily accept redundancy, but I am mindful that if they rush this through they could terminate my contract just before my qualifying week and I would miss out on any maternity pay (they offer a very generous enhanced package which I had been hoping for but statutory would be better than nothing). Do I point this out to them and ask them to keep in mind the relative harm it would do to me to be made redundant before that date or is that stupid? As sole earner with a child already, I need an income, and I realise that my chances of being hired while pregnant will be slimmer than one might like to imagine - so if they let me go with only a statutory goodbye package (which with 4 years service will hardly amount to much) my family are in a lot of trouble. Thanks.
GrB - 23-Jan-16 @ 4:46 PM
@Bonnie - in this case I suggest you give ACAS a call via the link here in order to speak to someone directly to find out your rights. Before you call you also may want to read through your contract and see what your terms and conditions are.
RedundancyExpert - 28-May-15 @ 11:39 AM
My boss arrived at my office and informed me that I will be no longer required after June 30 this year.He informed me that he has replaced me with 2 men from our competition.He said it had nothing to do with my work performance, nothing to do with me.He also informed me that he would be paying more to the 2 men (I don't know why he told me that).He asked if I would stay on board until the end of June and he would pay me 8 weeks pay for that.I have been with the company for 9.5 years. In that 9.5 years I have never had a bad review, and only called in sick 3 times. Not sure what my rights are. Thanks
Bonnie - 25-May-15 @ 5:48 PM
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