Opinion

Maternity leave - get it right

This might sound obvious, but employers need to be careful when bringing in staff to cover maternity leave. Section 106 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 allows for dismissal of someone brought in specifically to cover maternity leave once the returnee comes back to work.

However, this section only applies when the person covering the maternity leave is told about the impending dismissal - in writing. As if to prove the point, the case of Victoria and Albert Museum v Durrant, found that an individual - Durrant - shouldn't have been sacked as he wasn't given the required statement about his future dismissal (once the woman in question returned).

So the lesson here is to make sure that anyone hired in to cover maternity leave is given - in writing - the required statement about their short term contract and that they will be dismissed once the woman on maternity leave returns.

This was first published in May 2011

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