After 11 years in a job I loved, I was told I was being made redundant whilst on maternity leave

Until last month, I worked for a big company for almost 11 years, moving up to quite a senior position, doing a job that I loved, and was good at. I reduced my hours to part time hours (still 4 days per week) after my first maternity leave, with no problems at all and never any complaints about the reduced hours.

The day my second child turned 6 months, whilst I was still on maternity leave, I was told that my role was now redundant, and that they were replacing the role with a full time position, with a slightly different name, changing some of the job description, but exactly the role I had been doing until I went on leave. I was told I could apply for the role, but was strongly discouraged from doing so – and was told, not in so many words, that I wouldn’t get it. This in itself is upsetting, but could be put down to a business need (blah blah) – however it was clear that the role requirements for the ‘new’ role fitted exactly the skills of my maternity cover. I had recruited this person myself thinking she would be a good caretaker for the role, and had made it clear to all that I fully intended to return to work. This person has since interviewed for the role and (unsurprisingly) been successful.

This has been a really difficult thing to deal with while adjusting to a new way of family life, and I am very sad to have left a role and a team that I loved, and a company that I worked hard for for a long time – I’m also disappointed in myself for not fighting harder for a role that I wanted to keep, and for letting the company get away with this so that they can do it to other women who are pregnant or on maternity leave. I knew that it would be a long drawn out process to contest this, that I couldn’t handle whilst dealing with a new baby – and they knew that too so felt they could just throw me away and employ someone cheaper who I had actually found for them.  

Thanks to this company, my last few months on leave with my daughter are tainted with having the worry of unemployment and spending time looking for a job when I should be enjoying time with her.