Employment Benefits During Maternity Leave

Employment Benefits During Maternity Leave

September 21, 2022

We have had a few queries lately from clients, wondering if their employees will be entitled to their employment benefits during maternity leave. So, we thought we would provide some clarity on this…

During maternity leave, an employee is still classed as employed and therefore all their contractual rights and benefits still apply, except for those linked to remuneration. ‘Remuneration’ is money paid for work or a service, normally referred to as wages. Most employment contracts will refer to this term, stipulating the terms of conditions of employment in relation to wages under the heading ‘Remuneration’.

Employees on maternity leave are still entitled to benefits not linked to remuneration such as holiday allowance, EAP, Cash Plans, private health/medical insurance, childcare vouchers, and pension contributions, for the entire time they are on maternity leave.

Will I Receive my Bonus Whilst on Maternity Leave?

In order to identify whether an employee is entitled to continue receiving their bonus as a benefit during their maternity leave is dependent on the type of bonus, contractual or discretionary.

Bonus payments that form part of your salary or normal earnings are usually regarded as remuneration and therefore an employee would not be entitled to it during their maternity leave.

If employees are paid an annual bonus, the employee on maternity leave should be paid the bonus pro-rate to cover the period in which the employee was at work.

If any employer pays an employee a discretionary bonus each month for taking on an extra role or responsibility, which is outside of their contractual agreement, the employee could argue that this could be deemed as a benefit they receive and therefore should continue to receive it during their maternity leave. This is why we would encourage employers to document this additional payment as part of Remuneration in the employment contract.

It’s always advisable to ensure any form of benefit or remuneration an employee receives is written into their Terms and Conditions of Employment to avoid confusion. If you need further advice on whether a particular benefit is classed a remuneration, give us a call on 01527 909 436.

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