There are a number of maternity rights that all employers and employees should know about. With the end of September being the most popular time to give birth, we would like to make sure that you are in the know. We’ve chosen 5 rights that are sometimes overlooked. If you need advice on these or any others, just give us a call.
- Pay rises
Women on maternity leave should always be considered for pay rises even though they are not working. Any pay rise should be backdated to the beginning of their maternity leave, irrespective of the period the pay rise covers.
- Redundancy consultation and selection
There is a myth that women on maternity leave cannot be selected for redundancy – this is not correct, although they obviously cannot be selected because they are on maternity leave. If a redundancy situation affects an employee on maternity leave they must be consulted about the proposed redundancy even though they are not at work. Although the woman may choose not to take part in discussions, she should at least be given the option.
If selection criteria are used, those on maternity leave must not be disadvantaged. However, she should not be given preferential treatment which could lead to her male colleague being made redundant.
- Redundancy – alternative roles
If a woman on maternity leave is selected for redundancy then she does have enhanced rights – the employer must make positive efforts to find her similar roles elsewhere in the organisation, not just give her a link to the vacancies on the website. If there are vacancies that are suitable for her then she must be placed in this role without the need for competitive interview, ahead of other colleagues.
If a bonus is awarded to employees for a period where the woman has been on maternity leave for part of that period, then case law says an employer can pro-rate the bonus and pay it only for the time she was working. However, if the bonus is in respect of work done before the maternity leave it should be paid in full.
- Reasons for dismissal
If a woman is dismissed while pregnant or on maternity leave then she is automatically entitled to written reasons for dismissal, without having to ask for them or without having to have a qualifying period of two years’ employment before she is entitled to them.
There are other maternity rights that you should know about and if you need advice on them, just give us a call or an email.
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