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Issues to consider prior to Maternity Leave

Commencement of Maternity Leave

Immediately before maternity leave begins, the issue of contact during maternity leave should be addressed. An employer and employee should reach agreement on what kind of contact will take place. An employer may want to inform an employee of changes occurring at work such as job vacancies or restructuring, though the employment and maternity regulations do not insist on these.

Many employees will receive job benefits over and above those required by law. An employee’s contract may, for example, provide for health club membership or private medical cover. Since the Maternity and Parental Leave etc. and the Paternity and Adoption Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2008, all mothers with an Expected Week of Childbirth have been entitled to received such contractual benefits (expect for remuneration) for the entire period of maternity leave, including AML (effective since 5th October 2008).

Employment and maternity leave regulations ensure that any payments normally made into an occupational pension scheme must be made for the whole time the employee is being paid during her maternity leave.

Whilst on her maternity leave, an employee may return to work for what is known as a Keeping In Touch day (“KIT day”). KIT days can be arranged during maternity leave, however preliminary plans can also be made before maternity leave starts. The final weeks before leaving may be the ideal time to have such discussions.

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