Maternity leave and pay

Holiday and pensions during maternity leave


During statutory maternity leave (SML), an employee continues to accrue annual leave.

She will also continue to benefit from any occupational pension scheme contributions for some of the SML period, ie during the paid maternity leave period.

Accrual of annual leave during maternity leave

An employee continues to accrue both their full statutory annual leave entitlement of 5.6 weeks and any additional contractual entitlement throughout.

An employee may not take annual leave during SML. You should instead allow the employee to take any untaken annual leave before and/or after her SML.

You cannot pay an employee in lieu of any untaken statutory annual leave unless the contract is terminated.

An employee's SML begins automatically if she gives birth during a period of annual leave - see when maternity leave can begin.

For more information on annual leave entitlements, see know how much holiday to give your staff.

Pension contributions during maternity leave

You should calculate the contribution to an occupational pension scheme as if the employee is working normally.

During any period that your employee is on additional maternity leave (AML) but not receiving any maternity pay - eg during the last 13 weeks of AML - you do not have to make any employer contributions to an occupational pension scheme unless the contract of employment provides otherwise.

If the occupational pension scheme rules require employee contributions to continue during maternity leave, her contributions should be based on the amount of statutory and/or enhanced maternity pay she is receiving.

Employee contributions will therefore stop during any period of unpaid maternity leave - eg during the last 13 weeks of AML - but the occupational pension scheme rules may allow her to still make voluntary contributions.