Maternity leave: benefits during absence

A recent decision of the Equal Treatment Authority suggests that employees who are on maternity leave are entitled to continue to receive any of their usual benefits that are not specifically connected to the performance of work.

Background

According to the relevant legislation, maternity leave must be treated as time spent at work except in the case of benefits specifically connected to performing work. This regulation has, in the past, been interpreted in different ways, particularly in relation to benefits specifically connected to work (eg travel passes, meal vouchers, etc).

In this most recent case, the applicant claimed that she had not received fringe benefits during her maternity leave and this violated the rules of equal treatment in connection with maternity.

The decision of the Equal Treatment Authority

The Authority agreed with the applicant and declared that, in this case, she was entitled to receive her fringe benefits during her maternity leave. The decision confirms that benefits such as meal vouchers, internet subscriptions, insurance contributions, special health care services etc must continue during maternity leave. However other entitlements which are related to the effective performance of work (such a travel passes or car allowance) need not be provided to the employee on maternity leave.