What happens to your employment terms and conditions
While you are on Statutory Maternity Leave your employment terms and conditions are protected. You keep your normal employment rights and benefits (excluding wages) throughout all of your Statutory Maternity Leave.
This might include any access to benefits you have as part of your employment contract, for example a company car or mobile phone. However, if the benefit is provided for business use, your employer may be able to suspend it.
Pension contributions during Statutory Maternity Leave
If your employer contributes to an occupational pension scheme, they must carry on making their usual contributions:
- for the whole time you are on ordinary maternity leave - which is the first 26 weeks of your Statutory Maternity Leave
- for any time you are receiving any Statutory Maternity Pay
- for any time you are receiving contractual maternity pay
If you normally make contributions to your pension you should carry on doing so based on the amount of maternity pay you receive.
You will build up all your entitlements to paid holiday through all of your Statutory Maternity Leave. This is even if your contract says you are entitled to more than the legal minimum.
You can add holiday to the beginning or end of your Statutory Maternity Leave. You may not be able to carry over untaken holiday entitlement if your Statutory Maternity Leave goes over two holiday years. It is often best to take this at the beginning of your Statutory Maternity Leave.
Redundancy or dismissal during maternity leave
It is automatically unfair and automatic sex discrimination for your employer to select you for redundancy or dismiss you for a reason connected with:
- maternity leave
- birth or pregnancy
- paternity leave
- parental leave
- time off for dependants
Your employer can make you redundant while you are on maternity leave if they can fairly justify their choice. For example, your employer might close the section of their business that you normally work in and make all employees in that section redundant. Then your employer can make you redundant as well.
However, if your employer makes staff cuts across the company, they cannot make you redundant because you are on or are about to take maternity leave.
If you are made redundant whilst on Statutory Maternity Leave then you have special rights. You have the right to be offered any suitable alternative job in the company. This is even if there are other employees that might be more suitable for the job. If you are offered a new job, you are still entitled to the four-week trial period which should start when you return from Statutory Maternity Leave.
If you are made redundant or dismissed during your Statutory Maternity Leave, your employer must give you a written statement explaining the reasons for their decision. You should receive your normal notice period or pay in lieu of notice and redundancy pay if you are entitled to receive them. 'Pay in lieu of notice' means your employer will pay you instead of giving you a notice period.
Keeping in touch
During your leave it is often helpful to keep in touch with your employer.
Your employer is entitled to make reasonable contact with you during Statutory Maternity Leave. This might be to update you on any significant changes in the workplace, including any opportunities for promotion or job vacancies.
You can work up to ten days during your Statutory Maternity Leave without losing your Statutory Maternity Pay, Maternity Allowance or ending your leave. These are called keeping in touch days - and may only be worked if both you and your employer agree. You cannot work during compulsory maternity leave which is the two weeks immediately after your child is born.
Although particularly useful for things such as training or team events, keeping in touch days may be used for any form of work. They should make it easier for you to return to work after your leave.
You will need to agree with your employer what work is to be done on keeping in touch days and how much pay you will receive.
What happens if you become pregnant again
If you become pregnant again during Statutory Maternity Leave, you have the right to take further Statutory Maternity Leave for your next child.
What to do if you have problems
If you have a problem, talk to your employer first of all - it may be a simple misunderstanding. If this doesn't work, you may need to make a complaint using your employer’s grievance procedure.