We have an employee who is on maternity leave. There is a possibility we may need to make her role redundant while she is on leave. What are our obligations here?
Generally, you can lawfully make a person redundant during a period of parental leave as long as the fact that the employee is on parental leave has no influence on the decision to make their role redundant. If there is a comparable role that is vacant, you will be obliged to offer employment in that role.
That said, there are specific obligations in relation to employees who are on parental leave. An employer is required to discuss changes with the employee that are likely to have a significant impact on the employee’s position.
An employer is also required to give the employee information about proposed changes – this includes providing reasons for the decision. This is essentially because employees who are on parental leave during this period are at a natural disadvantage in respect of the consultation process.