Managing your employee's maternity leave and pay

Discrimination because of pregnancy or maternity

You must not discriminate against someone you employ, or are considering employing, because of:

  • their pregnancy
  • an illness related to their pregnancy, including related time off
  • maternity pay or leave they take, or plan to take

The law applies regardless of how long the person has been employed.

It applies to:

  • employees and workers
  • some self-employed people, if the person has to do the work personally (this is a complex area so get legal advice if it affects you)

The person could take their case to an employment tribunal if they believe they've been discriminated against because of pregnancy or maternity.

Discrimination includes:

  • dismissing them
  • not offering them a job
  • changing their pay or other terms
  • forcing them to work while on maternity leave
  • stopping them returning to work because they're breastfeeding

The law covers the person from the point they become pregnant until either:

  • their maternity leave ends
  • they return to work
  • they leave their job

If you do dismiss someone while they're pregnant or on maternity leave, you must give them the reasons in writing.

You can find out more about: