Honest opinions please as to whether I have grounds for a grievance

(18 Posts)
u32ng Mon 20-Jan-14 15:47:00

I think I am being somewhat discriminated against but would appreciate impartial opinions as to whether I should be raising a grievance against my work or not.

Here's the situation, as brief as poss:
I'm just about to go back to work after a year of maternity leave;
Since a relocation my work are subsidising my annual train ticket price for 4 years at a rate of 100%, 100%, 60%, 40%. I have had a year of 100% already and for this last year I've been off I would've been getting 100% again;
However HR say I'm now on the 60% rate & so basically that 2nd year of 100% has been lost to me.
It wasn't made clear AT ALL that the clock would basically keep ticking whilst I was on maternity leave.

I just feel like it's so unfair that I'm losing out on that 100% just because I went off & had a baby, whilst my non-baby-making commuting colleagues got their 2nd year of 100%. There is nothing in the policy at all mentioning what happens in the case of maternity leave.

Am I being shafted & should raise a grievance or am I just still pissed off about finding all this out 3 weeks before returning to work??

Awkwardsis Mon 20-Jan-14 15:47:59

I don't think you have a leg to stand on in that instance, sorry.

HomeIsWhereTheGinIs Mon 20-Jan-14 15:50:39

Whilst you we're on mat leave the clock "kept ticking" and you accumulated holiday days. So it's totally reasonable that it ticked over on everything else too, sorry.

Piffpaffpoff Mon 20-Jan-14 15:53:32

Would it have made any difference would it have made if you had known "the clock was ticking?' I can't see how they have discriminated - the timetable was set out for all relocating staff presumably and you chose to go on mat leave during the period set out. Would it not be discriminatory to other staff if they made an exception for you? Sorry but I think you are going to have to suck it up, although please note I have no HR expertise so might be completely wrong!!?

fourbythree Mon 20-Jan-14 15:54:27

I don't know the answer but it does seem discriminatory to me - even if they had purchased your annual pass for you just before you returned that would have been helpful!

givemeaclue Mon 20-Jan-14 15:56:22

Yabu. It was your choice to be away for the year of the 100% contribution. You could have been at work and got that. Now it is 60%. You can join in with that

ContinentalKat Mon 20-Jan-14 15:58:58

Do you have anything in writing?
It totally depends on how this was worded!

When I last TUPE'd and was given travel costs for relocation, they were to be paid even if I went on maternity leave. For example, I was being paid 20miles per day at 20p per mile. So £4 per day, 4 days per week make and allowance of about £70 per month. Because it was contractural, it had to be paid while on maternity leave along with childcare vouchers, gym membership and company care (not that I had one, this was an example). The wording is that while on maternity leave, all benefits of employment remain, save for your salary is less. So they still had to make my pension contributions as if I was still working (6% of my normal salary, not 6% of my maternity pay).

However, the payment of mileage allowance was specifically worded in the TUPE documents to continue under maternity leave and long term sick - I don't know what happens if the documents are silent.

SilverViking Mon 20-Jan-14 16:15:59

just because I went off & had a baby, whilst my non-baby-making commuting colleagues got their 2nd year of 100%.

So your travel costs were £0 last year, just like your non-baby-making colleagues!

Terrortree Mon 20-Jan-14 16:48:59

Would it not depend on the cost to the company and how the travel is subsidised?

If they batch buy the tickets, but you did not use yours, but they still incurred the expense I would argue this is not discrimination.

If however, they stand to profit from your not using the ticket, e.g. it was never bought, then you could argue that it is discrimination as there is a net gain for the company at a personal cost to you.

If I were you, I would check the company policy (does it state exactly that it covers time off work including maternity) and enquire whether or not a ticket was purchased. Grey area but one that could be tested. It won't help you make friends and influence people though.

givemeaclue Mon 20-Jan-14 16:52:01

Op didn't need the ticket as she wasn't at work.there is no personal cost to her

PenguinsDontEatKale Mon 20-Jan-14 16:54:46

No, I don't think you have a grievance.

Relocation is that the subsidy was for four years. It is still for four years. You had no travel costs for one of those years and so no need of a subsidy.

The only time I could see discrimination as a possibility would be if other people (e.g. sabbaticals, long term sick) had an extension on the policy.

NatashaBee Mon 20-Jan-14 17:00:23

Presumably you expected all other aspects of your employment (pay rise and bonus eligibility, accrual of holiday, any other benefits you get) to continue as normal whilst you were on maternity leave? So I'm not sure why you'd expect the 'clock' to stop for this.

u32ng Mon 20-Jan-14 17:03:08

Ok thanks. I did suspect that I don't really have solid grounds for a grievance. In relation to tickets, no they're not batch bought, so my work have saved themselves a tidy 4-figure sum by me not travelling. Shame they are so rubbish at saving money in general!

lougle Mon 20-Jan-14 17:08:37

I think it depends on whether it was classed as a benefit of your contract? Were you taxed on it? If that's the case, then really you should have bought the ticket and been subsidised for it.

Was your train pass cost paid as part of your salary, or on a separate payment?

Was the pass a pass that you could use all the time, or purely for the work commute?

holidaysarenice Mon 20-Jan-14 17:14:36

Actually you might have grounds for this. I'm thinking along the lines of them having to give you the same benefits as when at work, eg childcare vouchers have to be continued to be paid.

In my work we have to use a car, we get either mileage at x rate, or for higher users a lump sum per month plus mileage at a lesser rate.

During mat no mileage is payable but the lump sum is. As you have to have a car, then the lump sum continues to be paid. I didn't know why those on maternity kept putting in these forms until I found this out.

It could be dodgy grounds. Firstly read any contract, e.g does it say until 2017 or does it say 4 yrs. Then ring acas and ask.

Thirdly try it with ur company. Best outcome is that you get three more years, unlikely tho. Alternatively you could settle for getting two more years but at the 100 and then 60% instead.

Has anyone else been pregnant at work?

You are not actually costing them more than they allocated for relocation cos I bet the maternity cover person didn't get this benefit.

DuskAndShiver Mon 20-Jan-14 17:20:50

It does depend on how it is worded but I think that if they put you on 60% now, they should have bought you the ticket anyway (even if you were on mat leave). You should not lose any of your job benefits on mat leave - car, phone, if you get a flat with the job, pension, childcare vouchers - should all be paid the whole time you are off on leave.

I don't know whether the train ticket would have been any use to you on mat leave, but you should have had it.
Now that you didn't, I think you could argue that they owe it to you now, although I don't know if you will get a whole extra year at the end... if the scheme is

2012 - 100
2013 - 100
2014 - 60
2015 - 40

maybe you could argue that you were always entitled to 100% in 2013, they didn't pay it so you want it now, and then go down to 60% in 2015, and then THE END?

PenguinsDontEatKale Mon 20-Jan-14 17:24:09

The thing that makes me think no entitlement to a deferred 100% year is the fact that it was a cross company relocation package.

Whether the OP should have been receiving some element of the benefit during the year she was off is a separate issue, and probably a lot more complex as it depends a lot on how the subsidy operated and whether it could also be used for personal travel. There I can see that there might be a debate and something worth looking into.

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