The Draft Maternity and Parental Leave etc and the Paternity and Adoption Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2008 will bring the rights and obligations of employees during additional maternity leave (AML) and additional adoption leave (AAL) in line with those of ordinary maternity leave (OML) and ordinary adoption leave (OAL).

Background

The regulations will affect employees who are due to give birth or adopt on or after the 5 October 2008.

The rights and obligations of employees during AML and AAL will be harmonised with the rights and obligations that currently exist during OML and OAL. Under the current legislation, employees on OML or OAL have the right to continue to benefit from all the terms and conditions of their employment contract, other than those relating to remuneration. This protection will now be extended to include employees on AML or AAL.

The draft regulations also provide that the seniority, pension and similar rights and benefits of an employee returning from additional leave will be the same as those returning from ordinary leave. Continuity of service will also accrue during additional leave for the purposes of any contractual entitlements.

The right of an employee on OML not to be subjected to any detriment or dismissal for a reason related to pregnancy, childbirth or maternity, will be extended to those on AML.

Impact on employers

In conjunction with the amendments to the Sex Discrimination Act, the draft amendments to the MPL and PAL regulations mean that employers will have to ensure that employees who choose to take up AML or AAL are treated in the same way as they currently treat employees on OML and OAL.

Therefore, employer pension contributions that are payable during paid maternity leave (whether paid in the sense of receiving Statutory Maternity Pay or in the sense of receiving contractual maternity pay), will remain payable for any period of AML during which the employee is paid.