Am I protected from redundancy while pregnant?

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Pregnant women who informed their employer of their pregnancy had some protection if their job was at risk of redundancy but only whilst they were on maternity leave. The protection ended once returned to work and their role could be made redundant. However, under the Employment Rights Act 1996 a suitable alternative role had to be offered to a pregnant woman if there is one available.

What are the changes to maternity protection in 2024?

On 6th April 2024 the protected redundancy period was extended beyond the end of the maternity leave. For pregnant women, this meant they were protected from when they informed their employer they were pregnant until 18 months after the birth of their baby. If they do not inform their employer of the exact date, then the protected period ends 18 months after the expected week of childbirth.

Maternity protection also applies to the following circumstances of redundancy:

  • Where a stillbirth occurs after 24 weeks of pregnancy the protected period ends 18 months after the stillbirth.
  • Where a miscarriage occurs within the first 24 weeks the protected period ends 2 weeks after the end of the pregnancy.
  • Where an employee is on adoption leave the protected period ends 18 months after the date on which the adoption placement starts or the date the child enters England, Scotland or Wales for overseas adoptions.
  • Where an employee is on shared parental leave and they:
  • use less than 6 weeks leave the protected period ends on the last day of the block of leave;
  • use 6 weeks or more of continuous leave, the protected period ends 18 months from the date of the child’s birth;
  • use discontinuous leave, the redundancy protected period finishes at the end of each period of shared parental leave.

For those employees who have already taken adoption or maternity leave they are protected under either adoption or maternity leave.

What qualifies as a suitable alternative role during redundancy?

Employees who have the redundancy protection must be offered suitable alternative roles irrespective of whether they are suitably qualified for the role. Failure to do so could result in automatic unfair dismissal.

Top tips for Managing Redundancies with Protected Employees

  • Employers should be cautious when considering redundancies involving employees protected under redundancy laws and should seek legal advice promptly.
  • Update policies within staff handbooks. This will be particularly helpful in circumstances where there is more than one protected employee.
  • Undertake training as and when necessary.

Stay compliant with the new 2024 redundancy protection laws. Review and update your redundancy policies, train your team, and ensure all protected employees are offered suitable alternative roles to avoid automatic unfair dismissal. For expert legal advice and guidance, contact WSP Solicitors today. You can reach us directly at 01453 847200 or email us at


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