An individual is entitled to the benefit of all terms and conditions of employment which would have applied had she not been absent except for remuneration i.e. salary.

Regardless of length of service, a pregnant employee is entitled to take 26 weeks’ ordinary maternity leave followed immediately by 26 weeks’ additional maternity leave.

During periods of paid maternity leave, either ordinary or additional, an employer’s pension contribution should be calculated as if the woman is working normally and receiving the usual remuneration.

During unpaid maternity leave, i.e. the last 13 weeks of additional maternity leave, the employer would not be under any duty to continue contributions unless otherwise provided in the contract.

An employee returning to work after ordinary maternity leave is entitled to return to the job previously held prior to maternity leave, on the same terms and conditions.

An employee returning to work after additional maternity leave is also entitled to return to the same job on the same terms and conditions as if she had not been absent unless a redundancy situation has arisen or if it is not reasonably practical for her employer to take her back in her original job.

It is automatically unfair to dismiss a woman (at any time) or to select her for redundancy when the reason (or principal reason) for the dismissal (or selection for redundancy) is connected to her pregnancy or statutory maternity leave.

It is also automatically unfair to dismiss her or select her for redundancy during maternity leave for a reason connected to the fact that she has given birth. A claim for pregnancy and maternity discrimination could also be pursued. If a redundancy situation does arise during your maternity leave period, your employer must offer any available suitable alternative vacancy to you in preference to any other employee who is also potentially redundant but not on maternity leave.

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