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Introduction to this document

Job vacancy letter during parent-related leave

Ensure that you notify all employees who are absent on parent-related leave of any internal job vacancies that might arise within your business and give them the opportunity to apply. Our letter ensures you provide them with all the necessary information and you can adapt it to suit the role available.

Maternity leave

The Equality Act 2010 protects employees against discrimination because of pregnancy and maternity leave. If an employee who’s absent on maternity leave wishes to apply for a vacancy that arises within your business, she’s entitled to be considered for it even though she’s due to return to her original job and may not be able to start the vacant position until after her maternity leave ends. If the reason she wasn’t considered for the post is due to her maternity leave, that would amount to an act of unlawful discrimination and pregnancy-related detriment. This is the case even if you think she wouldn’t be interested in the role, or she’s unsuitable for it.

Notifying a vacancy

Use our new Job Vacancy Letter during Parent-Related Leave to advise your employee about the internal vacancy as soon as it arises. It sets out the essentials of the role, including job title, reporting line and location and who to apply to and the closing date for applications. Make sure you enclose the relevant job description and any person specification, if there is one. If possible, indicate when interviews are likely to be held as she may need to make childcare arrangements in order to attend. Don’t e-mail the letter to her work e-mail address. She might not regularly check her work e-mails. Instead, send it to her home address by post and to a personal e-mail address if you have one. Assuming your employee applies, you then need to consider her application in exactly the same way as you would for any other internal or external applicant, e.g. interviews.

Other parent-related leave

What if the employee is absent on another type of parent-related leave, such as adoption leave, paternity leave, parental leave or shared parental leave? In this case, it’s not so much a case of unlawful discrimination as being potentially subjected to a detriment for taking the relevant leave. If an employee on another type of parent-related leave isn’t considered for the post on the ground of their absence on the particular leave, that could well amount to a detriment for taking the leave. So you should advise all absent employees of any internal vacancies that arise.

An immediate vacancy

Even if the vacancy needs to be filled immediately and your employee isn’t due back from their maternity, etc. leave for some time, they can’t be excluded. If they’re successful, in the interim period you may need to take on a temp until they come back. So our letter provides that if they get the job, the role will commence on the date that they’re due to return to work from their current period of parent-related leave. Our letter also provides that their service will be continuous and they’ll be employed on the same terms and conditions as their current ones, except for any that you specifically set out as being different - this might, for example, include pay either upwards if the job is a promotion or downwards if it’s on fewer hours, or if the job is in a different department or location.