Q: Do I have to offer a vacant role to my employee who is on maternity leave during a redundancy situation? 
A: In general, any employee taking family leave, should be treated the same during a redundancy process. All the normal processes regarding notification of potential redundancy situation and consultation meetings apply. However, you may need to make some reasonable adjustments regarding meeting times to accommodate an employee on family leave. Employers should always ask all employees for suggestions on avoiding the redundancy situation. 
The main difference is that those on maternity leave or other family leave are entitled to be offered the suitable alternative employment before anyone else at risk, otherwise the redundancy will be deemed to be unfair. The suitable alternative employment must be appropriate, and the new terms must not be substantially less favourable than those within the previous contract. However, this does not mean that you cannot make an employee on family leave redundant. 
In conclusion if there is a vacant role, and the employee can do the job then the job must be offered to the employee on family friendly leave even if the new terms are better than the previous contract. This scenario could lead to an employee on family friendly leave jumping forward for the role over others who may be more suitable. 
Each case is dependent on the specific facts, so if you have a vacant role and are not sure if it is suitable alternative, please get in touch so that we can discuss the situation. 
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