In Simpson v Endsleigh Insurance Services Ltd and others, the EAT upheld a tribunal decision that the employer was not obliged to offer an employee, whose job had become redundant during her maternity leave, and who had worked in London, a vacancy in Cheltenham. While the work was suitable and appropriate for her to do, its location was substantially less favourable.
If an employee’s job becomes redundant during maternity leave then under the Maternity and Parental Leave etc Regulations 1999 she is entitled to be offered any suitable available vacancy that exists where: (i) the work is both suitable and appropriate for her to do (Reg 10(3)(a)); and (ii) the capacity and place in which she is to be employed, and the other terms and conditions, are not substantially less favourable than those of her previous contract (Reg (3)(b)).
The EAT upheld a tribunal decision that Regulations 10(3)(a) and 10(3)(b) of the Maternity and Parental Leave etc Regulations 1999 should be read together when deciding whether there is a suitable available vacancy for an employee whose job becomes redundant during her maternity leave. Unless a vacancy satisfies both limbs of Regulation 10(3) it will not be a suitable alternative. As a result, the employer in this case was not obliged to offer an employee who had worked in London a vacancy 100 miles away in Cheltenham. While the work was suitable and appropriate for her to do in the circumstances (under Regulation 10(3)(a)), its location was substantially less favourable to her (under Regulation 10(3)(b)) and it did not therefore amount to a suitable alternative vacancy.
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