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
Issues covered:

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 developed within the company which provided them with an entitlement to maternity pay.

If the reduction

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Back to Q&A's This article is correct at 02/09/2015

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Zelda Cunningham
Arthur Cox

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