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A fool-proof way to avoid redundancy!

 
#1 A fool-proof way to avoid redundancy!
22/11/2008 15:32

Good luck

I have just discovered a failsafe way to avoid redundancy! I have taken informal legal advice on this and had it confirmed in writing by HR at my firm (Big 4) so it should work for anyone.

Both my partner and I work for the same firm. Two weeks ago, we received the happy news that she is pregnant. However, this was at the same time as we were hearing about potential redundancies in the New Year. We had a friend visiting who is now a lawyer and she suggested we should inform the firm of our personal situation because of the risk that we could both be made redundant simultaneously, leaving the whole family without income. Apparently, although there isn't an explicit rule, it is pretty much impossible to make someone redundant if they are pregnant or on maternity leave. You have to wait until they come back to work, find them another job, then give them redundancy notice from that job, then give them priority to find another job with the firm, and only then can you get rid of them. It's so expensive and there's so much risk of getting sued that nobody does it.

My partner wasn't planning to tell the firm about the pregnancy until it was visible but, to be honest, I worried about her getting stressed with not knowing and something happening to the baby. So I wrote an email last week to HR, explaining the situation and asking that it be taken into consideration. Despite my friedn's advice, I wasn't expecting much, maybe an extended notice period or larger payout for the two of us. However on Friday I received back an email that says "[employees] on maternity leave, currently pregnant, and those who have advised the firm of their intent to become pregnant" have been excluded from the "at risk" lists that are being drawn up.

I don't know if this applies to firms where redundancies have already been announced, but it seems that if you're pregnant, tell the firm NOW. If you're on maternity leave, tell your firm NOW that you want to takke as much extended maternity leave (not just ordinary maternity leave) as you can. If you're thinking of starting a family, or just pregnable, tell HR NOW.

I don't even think you have to get pregnant - you can just say you're still trying, and it's not like anyone's going to check whether you really did get pregnant in the end. You just need to get yourself onto the list of protected employees long enough to avoid being considered for redundancy!

Obviously, I may still get the boot. All that HR said was that my personal situation would be "taken into account", but at least my partner's safe and if it comes down to a tie over who to sack, hopefully having a sprog on the way will get me the advantage.

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#2 RE: A fool-proof way to avoid redundancy!
23/11/2008 14:58

hmmm... to Good luck (#1)

So you get the boot, she goes on maternity leave which (depending on the firm) can drop down to statuatory maternity pay of £104 after 13 weeks that will last for a further 26 weeks only before you get nothing, and you will be OK will you...?

Good luck!

(oh and congratulations BTW!)

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#3 RE: A fool-proof way to avoid redundancy!
23/11/2008 16:23

SteveOJ to Good luck (#1)

So which Big 4 is drawing up a "people as risk" list?

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#4 RE: A fool-proof way to avoid redundancy!
23/11/2008 16:44

Good idea to hmmm... (#2)

I doubt any professional services firms pay their "front office" staff statutory minimum for maternity. Pretty much all the big consulting/law/accounting firms pay full pay for nine months; most then half-pay for up to another 9 months. Certainly this applies to at least 3 of the Big 4. Not a bad deal, all-in.

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#5 RE: A fool-proof way to avoid redundancy!
23/11/2008 22:05

anon to Good luck (#1)

http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1765

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#6 RE: A fool-proof way to avoid redundancy!
24/11/2008 00:25

qnon to anon (#5)

Looking at your company's employee handbook might be every so slightly more useful than the ACAS website.

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#7 RE: A fool-proof way to avoid redundancy!
25/11/2008 03:52

I can act better than al pacino. to Good luck (#1)

does this mean that we should all now go and knock up the company secretaries? If so, I with you!

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#8 RE: A fool-proof way to avoid redundancy!
25/11/2008 13:58

Length to I can act better than al pacino. (#7)

Why did you knock up someone from work? Is it because you can't pull elsewhere? I bet you and your missis got it on over a pizza at 9:00pm one night, having both realised that you were slaves. Sad

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#9 RE: A fool-proof way to avoid redundancy!
25/11/2008 15:18

jo to Length (#8)

possibly length, but they are the ones doing the do like betty boo.

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#10 RE: A fool-proof way to avoid redundancy!
25/11/2008 15:38

Casio to jo (#9)

Flaw: Kids cost more than redundancy

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#11 RE: A fool-proof way to avoid redundancy!
25/11/2008 17:21

or... to Good luck (#1)

Instead of trying to knock up your female colleagues you could just be better at your job and not get made redundant that way.

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#12 RE: A fool-proof way to avoid redundancy!
25/11/2008 18:00

Length to jo (#9)

Are you flirting with me Jo?

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#13 RE: A fool-proof way to avoid redundancy!
26/11/2008 13:25

John Thomas to Length (#12)

of course men can't get pregnant - another snipe at the 'male' dominated world by the pc brigade...

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#14 RE: A fool-proof way to avoid redundancy!
02/12/2008 11:33

sm to John Thomas (#13)

Dear Sir

I would like to take advantage of this scheme. I am a male MC who may be made redundant soon.

Please advise

John

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#15 RE: A fool-proof way to avoid redundancy!
02/12/2008 11:34

sm to sm (#14)

the sad thing is, many HR departments would feel duty bound to reply to this, quoting Equal Opps legislation

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#16 RE: A fool-proof way to avoid redundancy!
03/12/2008 01:11

Sir Mixalot to sm (#14)

Dear sm,

We would be happy to take account of your request. However, given the unusal nature of male pregnancy, we would first require a medical note confirming your condition. As with any other medical information, this will be treated in confidence.

Yours sincerely,

Sir Mixalot

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#17 RE: A fool-proof way to avoid redundancy!
03/12/2008 07:49

anon to Sir Mixalot (#16)

Now there's a thought.... can you tell HR you and your partner are "trying" for a child and you weren't sure whether you should tell them at this stage so you thought you would, just in case. Then it might make them think twice before making you redundant because you could say "they got rid of me because they knew I was trying for a baby and thought I wasn't committed to the job and might take parental leave in the near future?'

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#18 RE: A fool-proof way to avoid redundancy!
03/12/2008 13:29

al to Good luck (#1)

Wow. What an extraordinarily discriminatory policy your firm has.

The law's straightforward. You can't sack someone for being pregnant, but you are allowed to make people redundant if there's no work for them to do. If you're in a firm where 100 people are being made redundant, they'd be completely safe in getting rid of your partner (provided the other 99 weren't also pregnant!).

You have no protection yourself.

Whether they WOULD do this and risk the hassle of lawsuits / bad publicity is a different question, but if I were a Partner there I'd also be considering whether I'd be sued by anyone I made redundant, particularly if they had been a higher performer than the woman while she was in post. You can't sack someone for being pregnant, but being pregnant doesn't exempt them from the same redundancy considerations as anyone else.

Fair play to you for fighting your own corner (we would all do the same) but this sort of thing is what makes people think twice about taking on new female grads when economic conditions are tough.

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#19 RE: A fool-proof way to avoid redundancy!
03/12/2008 21:15

hmmm... to al (#18)

Hang on a minute - wasn't there a "bloke" in the USA who was pregnant recently....

....wonder which consultancy he works for...?!

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#20 RE: A fool-proof way to avoid redundancy!
04/12/2008 19:30

Curious to Good luck (#1)

"and those who have advised the firm of their intent to become pregnant" - Hahahahaha

Every single woman can claim that - Does that mean no women will ever be made redundant? What a stupid idea!!!

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#21 RE: A fool-proof way to avoid redundancy!
04/12/2008 20:51

UCl to Curious (#20)

Obviously it doesn't mean no women will ever be made redundant. It means what it says - only "those who have advised the firm of their intent to become pregnant". Just because every woman could make that claim, it doesn't mean they will.

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