Many thanks for your patience. Employees who are on maternity leave have certain rights if a redundancy situation develops whilst they are away. The Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations state that if "it is not practicable by reason of redundancy" for the employer to continue to employ an employee under her existing contract, the employee is entitled to be offered a suitable alternative vacancy (where one is available) to start immediately after her existing contract ends. This also includes a vacancy with an associated employer.
If the employee is offered a new contract so that redundancy is avoided, then it must meet the following criteria:
• The work to be done is both suitable and appropriate for her to do in the circumstances.
• The capacity and place in which she is to be employed, and the other terms and conditions of her employment, are not substantially less favourable to her than if she had continued to be employed in her old job
When a redundancy situation exists, the employer has a general duty to try and offer those who are at risk of redundancy any suitable alternative employment that is available at the time. However, the Regulations effectively give employees who are on maternity leave priority over other employees when such offers are made. If a suitable alternative position existed, it should be offered to the employee on maternity leave first, before being offered to others. Failure to do so would breach the statutory regulations and can also amount to discrimination because of pregnancy and/or maternity. The affected employee can consider raising a formal grievance with the employee first, before considering whether to take formal legal action.
So if there is no suitable alternative position at this point in time they could proceed with a redundancy if necessary. Unfortunately you cannot force them to keep paying you until you find a new job – that could continue for an indefinite period of time and no employer would agree to that. Also they are not legally obliged to do so. They could terminate your employment now and pay you off with whatever you are due under redundancy then that would be the end of their involvement. Similarly, you cannot force them to keep you on unpaid leave until a suitable alternative is found. They have a duty to offer you anything suitable which is available now, but no requirement to keep you on the books until something comes up in the future. Ou may of course approach them and propose either of these options to them but do not be surprised if they refuse and remember that you cannot force them to go down either route.
I trust this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page). If for any reason you are unhappy with my response or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you