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14th May 2013

 

Unite Legal Services force healthcare technology giant to back down over maternity pay row

A woman from County Tyrone who took on Randox Laboratories Ltd following a dispute over maternity pay has successfully settled her case against them, with the support of Unite Legal Services.

Caroline McDaid had been employed by Randox Laboratories for over two years as a marketing executive when she went on maternity leave in October 2011. During the course of that leave, her employers paid her an additional four weeks’ occupational maternity pay, in addition to her statutory maternity entitlement.

However, when she decided not to return to work in June 2012, the major healthcare technology manufacturer took action by deducting four weeks’ pay from her final salary payment.

The additional payment, they argued, was conditional on her returning to work after maternity leave although no such clause was mentioned in Caroline’s original contract.

Having kept her side of the contractual agreement by giving her former employers four weeks’ notice, Caroline contacted her trade union, Unite the Union, for advice.

Unite Legal Services instructed Thompsons NI to investigate her case, which was then lodged by the firm at an industrial tribunal in September 2012.

In January 2013, less than six months after the claim was made, Caroline’s case came to a successful resolution. Whilst Randox Laboratories did not formally admit liability for the claim, they agreed to repay the four weeks’ occupational maternity pay.

Sean McKeever, regional organiser at Unite the Union said: “There was nothing in Caroline’s contract that said an entitlement to additional occupational maternity pay was conditional on her returning to work. Randox Laboratories had no right to deduct the payment from her final salary.

“By breaching the contract when Caroline was on maternity leave, Randox Laboratories veered dangerously close to unlawful discrimination.

“This is a success for Unite Legal Services, demonstrating the value of union membership in providing support and protection at work. I am grateful to the team at Thompsons NI for helping to put things right for our member,” added Sean.