Equality of terms: pregnancy and maternity
Equality of terms: pregnancy and maternity

The following Employment practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Equality of terms: pregnancy and maternity
  • Maternity equality clause
  • No comparator required
  • Effect of maternity equality clause
  • The protected period
  • Effect of pay increases on maternity-related pay
  • Timing of payments
  • Effect of pay increases on pay after return from maternity leave
  • Pensions—maternity equality rule
  • Relationship with pregnancy and maternity discrimination provisions
  • More...

A woman absent on maternity leave is in a unique position, which requires her to be afforded special protection, but which is not comparable with that of a man actually at work. A woman on maternity leave is not therefore entitled to full pay, despite the principle of equal pay under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. However, this does not mean that a woman on maternity leave is excluded from all equal pay rights whilst on maternity leave (see: Effect of maternity equality clause below).

As is the case with non-maternity protection (see Practice Note: Equality of terms: definition of 'pay'—The principle of equal pay for equal work), the Equality Act 2010 differentiates between:

  1. contractual entitlements: these are covered by the maternity equality of terms provisions, which apply a maternity equality clause into a woman's contract

  2. non-contractual entitlements: these must be brought under the prohibited conduct provisions of the Equality Act 2010. For further information, see Practice Notes: Direct discrimination, Indirect discrimination, Pregnancy and maternity discrimination, Employment events which give rise to prohibited conduct claims and Prohibited conduct claims by non-employees

Maternity equality clause

Where the terms of work of an employee or a holder of a personal or public office (see Practice Notes: Equality of terms: how claims work—Meaning of 'employed' and Equality of terms: how claims work—Office-holders) do not (by whatever

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