LEGAL & FINANCE: Rises in Maternity Leave Pay; Legal & Finance
Byline: John Duckers
Mothers on maternity leave could receive a surprise boost from the Advocate General of the European Court of Justice, according to Rebecca McGuirk, an employment lawyer in the Birmingham office of DLA.
In a recent case the Advocate General has said women receiving Statutory
Maternity Pay (SMP) must now receive any pay rises during the period while they are off work. Ms McGuirk said: 'Two questions arose for consideration. When does a pay rise have to be taken into account for the purposes of calculating SMP? 'And, how is the pay rise to be taken into account when determining the woman's average normal earnings during the period used for calculating SMP?
'The Advocate General has stated that the amount of SMP payable to a woman must take into account any pay rises, even if backdated, that are awarded between the beginning of the pay period upon which the calculation is being made and the end of maternity leave.
'Dealing with the second point, the Advocate General also accepted that employers would therefore have to calculate or review maternity pay in relation to all women awarded a pay rise before or during their maternity leave, but left it up to each EU member state to lay down the rules in this area.'
The current Maternity Regulations do make it clear that women returning from maternity leave do have the right to benefit from any general improvements to their rate of pay, terms and conditions which have been introduced while they were on maternity leave, however the position was not clear, until now, as to how pay rises should be taken into account when in receipt of SMP.
She added that one area of future concern was flagged up in his closing remarks. …