In the past we topped up maternity benefit (to the level of their current pay) for staff on maternity leave. However, due to financial constraints we have informed staff that we will not be doing this in the future. A staff member’s representative has written to us stating that this is in contravention of the employment equality acts on the grounds that this cost saving measure disproportionately impacts on staff members due to family status and is thus counter to the employment equality acts. Is this true?

Posted in : First Tuesday Q&A ROI on 5 November 2013
Zelda Cunningham
Arthur Cox

Under the Maternity Protection Acts 1994 to 2004, employers are not obliged to pay maternity leave. However, employees will be entitled to rely on the provisions of their contract of employment, if it (or any company policy document) provides that they are entitled to maternity pay at a particular rate. Changes to terms and conditions of employment, including maternity pay, must be agreed with the employee in question. In circumstances where a contract of employment does not specify entitlement to maternity pay at a certain rate, it is open to employees to argue that a custom and practice

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Back to Q&A's This article is correct at 02/09/2015
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The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Zelda Cunningham
Arthur Cox

The main content of this article was provided by Zelda Cunningham. Contact telephone number is +353 1 618 0000 or email zelda.cunningham@arthurcox.com

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