another one bites the dust… (maternity leave and redundancy)
Mrs T has been (or will be) made redundant!
As I mentioned a while back just another reason to make sure you have some decent savings to smooth out the peaks and troughs of life.
The full story is that on Friday the whole office got called into a meeting to be told that they’d all be moving to the main offices in London. The kicker is that there would be no pay rise and no help with the extra travel cost. For most of the people in the office this is basically a massive “fuck you”… you are no longer needed, surplus to requirements, so long suckers. The reason being of course no one is going to add 2 hours onto their day for an effective four grand a year pay cut.
The alternative to accepting the move is of course voluntary redundancy, which is a kick in the teeth for those that have been good servants to the company for 10+ years.
It is very rare that you’re truly indispensable at work… In contrast, you truly are indispensable at home.
But, we both feel bad for the others in the office! No doubt they will all get other jobs soon enough but the company don’t seem to have handled it very well IMO. It’s a hard situation for anyone high up in a company to be making these sorts of decisions but when there is no compassion shown whatsoever you do have to wonder whether the whole psychopath CEO thing is true, or even that there may be many psychopaths or people with psychopathic tendencies lurking around in the workplace (See ribbonfarm’s brilliant The Gervais Principle for further reading on that, if you have a few spare hours!). Or maybe they are just total dickheads. Will we ever know for sure?!
A few small bits of evidence for you:
- The senior member who came down to the office refused any questions, read from a script and then as soon as he finished kept his head down and started texting from his phone. What a spineless gimp.
- The company removed the employee handbook from the intranet a few months ago. This is where it contains all the relevant information about redundancy and what the employees would be entitled to under contract. Even if this was not a deliberate move it shows incredible boneheaded lack of foresight to remove it with impending redundancies coming up!
- In the lead up to the news they, inexplicably, announced that there would be no pay rises (although there haven’t been any in the 2 years Mrs T has worked there so it wasn’t that much of a surprise!). What is the point in that if you are making everyone jobless before the yearly pay review anyway!? They also announced that there wouldn’t be a Christmas party. Talk about heaping misery onto people for no particular reason.
- Not offering to pay for travel for anyone just shows incredible lack of empathy on how people on lower salaries can actually get by. Either that or the more likely situation is that it’s deliberate move and they also wanted to downsize their staff at the same time as the move. If not, then it shows another highly incompetent move because no one in London is going to work for the wages they are paying anyway.
- As a final bit of irony, the HR manager who came down to “help out” with the redundancy meeting submitted expenses to the accounts team the day after, claiming for the travel expenses down from London!!!! So we now have the situation where a company is happy to pay for an executives travel expenses to go down to tell a whole office they have to travel to the office the executive has just travelled from but the company will not help at all to pay for the extra travel expenses for those employees (or be made redundant), and those employees have to sign off the expenses claim for that executive. Nice move, corporate bozos! It did make me wonder, how quickly that expenses claim will go through? 😉
maternity leave and redundancy
As mentioned, the redundancy news didn’t really make much difference to our financial plans because Mrs T will not be working from around March time next year anyway. I figured the worse case scenario was that she gets some redundancy money but then doesn’t get any maternity pay which would probably balance itself out (statutory maternity pay will still be paid by the government for 39 weeks in any case). She may also lose out on up to 1 month of wages depending on exactly when the exact redundancy date is. However it was worth a bit more research into what the law is on this. According to Acas:
The beginning of pregnancy to the end of maternity leave is a ‘protected period’ during which a woman is entitled to special consideration if this is necessary to make good any disadvantage she may otherwise experience.
Hmm. OK… tell me more…
Myth: If I make a pregnant employee redundant, I don’t have to pay them maternity pay as well.
If a pregnant employee qualifies for statutory maternity pay and is made redundant before going on maternity leave but after the beginning of the 15th week before the baby is due, you will need to pay her statutory maternity pay (SMP) as well as any redundancy payment. Remember you are reimbursed by the government for the SMP. If your company has a maternity policy which offers additional contractual maternity pay this would end when the contract ends unless you agree otherwise.
OK, so the first half of that simply states Mrs T will get the statutory maternity pay via her company rather than having to apply separately to the government for it. At least that makes our lives a little easier on that front. The second part hints to me that there could be three scenarios, none of which sound particularly that bad for us financially:
- Mrs T could find out the date of the redundancy and book in her maternity for 6 weeks before that. She’d then be free to
doss aroundrelax for the final 6 weeks of her pregnancy. However, despite being the right thing to do in terms of screwing as much out of her shitehawk employers as possible, she has said she’d rather not do this if possible due to the whole getting bored thing, which is fair enough.
- Mrs T will work up to whenever her normal maternity date or the redundancy comes (whichever comes first) and the company could just pay her the full maternity pay she would have got as well as redundancy, no questions asked (I find it hard to believe this would ever happen the way they’ve acted so far, but there is a precedent in that a similar thing happened to my sister. Different company though!)
- The most likely scenario I can see is that she can use scenario 1 as a bargaining tool to get to scenario 2. It will be in the companies benefit to keep her on as long as possible because everyone else in the office will be trying to get a new job and jumping ship as soon as possible, and also there will be new staff to take over in London that will need to be trained. So they will need some people to stay on up to as near the redundancy date as possible. So Mrs T can say, “well look, I will stay on as long as you also pay me full maternity, otherwise I have no incentive and may as well just have 6 extra weeks off work”. Personally I think that is a more than fair bargain to make, but we’ll see how that goes down if/when the time comes 🙂
Has anyone else out there had a similar situation? I think we’ve got the basics down, as above, but any advice will be greatly received as usual!