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Unsure of your equality rights or the law? We can provide advice and assistance for people who feel they have been discriminated against.

Pay rises and performance

During maternity leave

What you need to know


Pay rises and performance
(bonuses, promotion, performance review and training opportunities)

Am I entitled to the same pay rise as other employees when on maternity leave?

Yes. You must be given the same pay rise as any other employee. The pay rise should be reflected in your earnings related statutory maternity pay (which is 90% of your pay for the first six weeks of your maternity leave) and any contractual maternity pay. Failure to do so may be maternity discrimination.

For example: you are receiving contractual maternity pay, based on your salary and, at an annual pay review, staff are awarded a two per cent pay rise. Failure to include this in your contractual maternity pay would be unlawful discrimination. Your contractual maternity pay must be recalculated so it is based on your salary plus the 2% increase.

I have been told I will not get a bonus for my maternity leave period. Is this allowed?

The general rule is that you must be paid the same bonus as any other employee for the period before you go on maternity leave, and during the compulsory leave period . But you are not entitled to a bonus for the remaining period of your maternity leave.

There may be some exceptions, for example if a discretionary loyalty bonus is paid to all employees irrespective of whether they have been at work for the whole year. Because the legal position is not clear and will depend on the facts of your case you should seek legal advice about your entitlement.


Can I apply for a promotion when I am on maternity leave?

Yes. There is no reason why you should not apply for promotion when you are on maternity leave. Your employer must not discourage you from applying for promotion, or refuse to promote you, because you are on maternity leave, as this would be likely to be maternity discrimination . Your employer must not take into account your maternity leave when making a decision about whether to offer you a different job or promote you.

Your employer should contact you about any promotion or other job opportunities that come up, explaining what you need to do to apply.


I think my promotion is being delayed because I am on maternity leave. What can I do?

You must not be refused promotion because of being on maternity leave. If your employer decides not to promote you because you are on maternity leave, that would be maternity discrimination . It is advisable to talk to your manager about your promotion.


My maternity cover has been promoted during my leave and I will report to her. What can I do?

If you were not told about the promotion opportunity and would have applied if you had not been on leave, this may be maternity discrimination . Your employer should contact you about any promotion or other job opportunities that come up, explaining what you need to do to apply.

You will need to find out whether you will return to exactly the same job or not.  If some of your responsibilities have been removed because you have taken maternity leave this would be maternity discrimination.


My manager thinks it unnecessary to do my performance review as I will be on maternity leave. What should I do?

It depends whether you will be disadvantaged because of missing a performance review, for example, if a pay rise or promotion is dependent on your performance review. Your employer should ensure that you do not miss out on a pay rise or promotion because you have not had a review; it may be maternity discrimination  if you are disadvantaged because you didn't have a review.

You could ask for your review to take place either before or during your maternity leave. You could use a Keeping in Touch  day to attend work for a performance review.


I want to attend training during my maternity leave, can my employer refuse or cancel a pre-booked course?

You should be given the opportunity to attend training during maternity leave particularly if failure to do so would affect your career or pay.

If you are excluded from a training course because you are on maternity leave, this is likely to be maternity discrimination if you are disadvantaged as a result, for example by not being considered for a pay rise or promotion.

If you are booked on a training course this must not be cancelled because you are on maternity leave, unless you agree.

You may wish to agree to do the training at another time, for example if the training will be out of date by the time you return from maternity leave. Alternatively, you might want to use ‘keeping in touch’ days to attend training. It is best to discuss the options with your employer.

On the other hand, if you do not want to attend training you do not have to. You could try and arrange for the training to occur soon after your return to work.


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