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Should you pay a performance-related increase if your employee is on maternity leave?

by , 05 May 2015
Before we discuss the matter of paying any performance-related bonus or salary, you should know that one of the best thing you can do for your company when it comes to wages is to implement and have a clear a remuneration policy.

When you put the remuneration policy in place, make sure it highlights the situations when you'll give increases and how you'll work them out.


For instance, if your salary increases are performance-based, your remuneration policy must clearly say if you'll work increases out on the employee's basic salary or on the employee's total cost to company.

But what about if your employee goes on maternity leave?

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You can't unfairly discriminate against an employee (for example, on the basis of her pregnancy or a matter relating to her pregnancy, such as taking maternity leave)!

If your employee meets her performance standards for the time she works, you must give her the same increase as others who meet the standard. If the only reason she didn't reach target is because she was on maternity leave, give her a pro-rata increase.

Keep in mind that you could be guilty of unfair discrimination if you don't!

Here's an example to make this clearer:

Belinda only works for eight months in the last performance year because she was on four months' maternity leave. During the eight months she works she consistently exceeds performance targets.  She asks for a pro-rata increase of 67% of the total increase because she didn't work for the whole year. If the manager refuses, he's guilty of unfair discrimination. This is because she's on maternity leave for the rest of the year.

So you know the risks and the consequences. It's up to you if you want to pay the fine or the performance-related increase!

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