Does the contract of employment continue during maternity leave so that the employee has continuous service?
Yes, unless the employee is dismissed, resigns or a fixed term contract comes to an end without being renewed.
Any period of maternity leave must be treated as though the employee is working for the purpose of calculating her length of service for any service related benefits, redundancy payments or for claiming unfair dismissal.
This means that you and the employee must follow all the obligations under the contract. All policies and procedures apply as they would if the employee were not on maternity leave, unless you need to make special provision to remove any disadvantage because of her maternity leave. For example, you should not expect an employee to attend a disciplinary meeting or interview soon after giving birth.
An employee on maternity leave is entitled to all contractual benefits except:
- Benefits provided solely for business use, such as a company car.
- Pay/remuneration (which is generally replaced by statutory maternity pay and any contractual maternity pay, for example under an employer’s contractual maternity pay scheme).
Examples of benefits that you must continue to provide during annual leave include:
- Accrued annual leave.
- Pension contributions during the paid period; the employer contributions are based on normal pay, but the employees’ are based on maternity pay.
- Participation in share ownership scheme.
- Membership of health club.
- Reimbursement of professional subscriptions.
- Health and life insurance.
- Use of company car, unless it is for business use only.
- Use of mobile phone, laptop unless it is for business use only.
- The benefit of a pay rise.
Last updated: 13 May 2016