The draft Maternity Leave and Parental Leave etc and the Paternity and Adoption Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2008 have been published. These provide that employees will be entitled to the benefit of terms and conditions of employment, other than remuneration, throughout the entire maternity leave period, rather than just during Ordinary Maternity (or Adoption) Leave (OML or OAL) as at present. They also attempt to limit an employee’s right to pension benefits to the period in which they are in receipt of contractual or statutory maternity pay (currently all of OML and the first 13 weeks of Additional Maternity (or Adoption) Leave (AML or AAL)). However, under EU law it is arguable that pension benefits accrue throughout the whole period of maternity leave, not just paid maternity leave. Hence, despite the Government’s attempt to relieve employers of the burden of having to pay pension benefits for the final 13 weeks of AML, there will be a risk of discrimination claims if employers fail to provide such benefits. The same applies to death in service and permanent health insurance benefits.
Clickhere for draft regulations.