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Bonus whilst on maternity leave

(4 Posts)
allchildrengrowup Mon 27-Mar-17 14:12:48

I've been on maternity leave since mid-December 2016. My company run a discretionary bonus scheme which relates to the calendar year (Jan - Dec). There is no set formula for calculating bonuses - it's supposedly based on appraisal / performance, but really it's just management going through the list and allocating each individual according to who they do / don't like (I work in HR and so know how it works).

I've just found out my bonus for 2016 and I'm really disappointed with the amount. It's significantly less than what my peers have been awarded (as I work in HR I have sight of the numbers) and much less than I received in the previous round (despite the total bonus pool being similar). Basically I've been lumped with the underperformers.

Given that I worked nearly the whole year, there shouldn't be any pro-rating for absence whilst on maternity (even though I think there's still some debate around the legality of withholding bonuses on this basis).

I'm sure that there haven't been any performance issues - in fact I have always scored "above expectation" or "outstanding" throughout my time with this company and also in the last year. I put in long hours (unpaid), met all my objectives, really tried to go the extra mile, no days off sick (despite hideous morning sickness) and continue to provide lots of support to the department in my absence.

I think it's a case of 'out of sight out of mind' and also, this is a company which is very intolerant of family-friendly policies, they don't care about work-life balance and are pretty anti women (very few women in senior positions). I therefore strongly suspect that my mat leave has been detrimental to my bonus award.

I feel pretty gutted, demotivated and although part of me wants to just quit and find a new job, I really want to fight it because of the injustice of it all. It's not really about the money for me, but more about how unfair it feels.

On the other hand, I hate being "the trouble-maker" and know that if I cause a fuss, my card will be forever marked. I also like my job and will struggle to find another part-time job which pays as well as this one.

WWYD? Do you think I should pursue it? Do I have a case for maternity discrimination?

Popskipiekin Mon 27-Mar-17 22:38:03

(I have no HR experience!). Can you write formally to acknowledge the bonus but express your disappointment that it is (considerably?) less than the amount you received for the previous year and this is despite working essentially the full bonus year and meeting all your obectives etc (l wouldn't mention not going off sick despite morning sickness). You would like to understand how the award has been decided as you expected at least a similar amount to your previous award.

If they can give you no reason, you can decide whether or not you want to formally appeal.

Personally I reckon you'd be ok making a small amount of fuss - there are months and months before you go back, plenty time for things to settle.

flowery Tue 28-Mar-17 10:17:27

If you weren't on maternity leave you'd probably query this, wouldn't you? It sounds clearly less than you could reasonably expect, and it would be right to query the reasons for this.

Do that, see what response you get and take it from there. Whether you have any kind of case for maternity discrimination will depend on the response really, in terms of what kind of explanation they give you.

Justanotherusername99 Thu 30-Mar-17 12:36:43

I don't really have any advice, but just wanted to say I sympathise.

My organisation runs a similar discretionary bonus system running from May - April with the bonus then being notified to you in July. I worked my arse off and hit my objectives. In April I told them I was pregnant and funnily enough, come July, they didn't give me any bonus at all. They also didn't give me a decent pay rise, so I'm now on the same pay as a less qualified male employee.

It is beyond frustrating because I am sure both our organisations have done this because we are/were pregnant. The problem is proving it. Either kick up a fuss and see where it gets you, or look to move on and work somewhere better!

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