Helping Employee On Loss Of Job Upon Return From Maternity Leave

Importance of timely communication to avoid misunderstandings with employees on changes or redundancy of roles.

28 Feb 2024 Case Stories Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices

Learning Points 

  • Employers should exercise caution and sensitivity in handling redundancy of roles to avoid being perceived as discriminatory.
  • Employers should explore different options to assist employees and find alternative employment.


Shirley worked as a regional manager in a company that manufactures dental equipment and consumables. Upon her return to work after her maternity leave, she was told to resign. She filed a complaint against the company with TAFEP. 

TAFEP's Involvement

When TAFEP contacted the company, they explained that her role was made redundant following a worldwide restructuring exercise. While the exercise had been communicated to employees earlier on, Shirley was not informed as there were plans for her role to be absorbed into another portfolio. However, this arrangement would only be firmed up till sometime later. When the company was notified of her pregnancy, they decided to break the news to her after she returned from maternity leave.

TAFEP followed up closely with the company on this matter. The company explored various options to help Shirley and offered to find alternative employment. Eventually, under a mutual agreement, Shirley resigned and the company compensated her with an ex-gratia payment and a pro-rated Annual Wage Supplement. Shirley’s resignation letter, however, was prepared by the company. 


TAFEP found that there was no discrimination against the employee. The redundancy was due to the restructuring exercise, and the company’s decision to remove the role was made prior to learning about Shirley’s pregnancy.

TAFEP advised that their action could be perceived as forced resignation, and they should exercise caution and sensitivity in handling such cases, to avoid being seen as discriminatory. TAFEP also pointed out that the resignation letter should be prepared by the employee.

The company agreed that the matter could have been handled more professionally and accepted TAFEP’s advice and recommendations. To address their deficiencies, they enrolled in the Fair Employment Practices workshop, and signed the Employer’s Pledge of Fair Employment Practices.

Disclaimer: The case study is based on an actual case handled by TAFEP. The names and identifying details in this case have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.