Question is in the title really. I am due a bonus for the six months I worked prior to commencing maternity leave, but my employer is stating I can't have it until I return to work and if I don't return I don't get it at all. Others are having bonuses for last year paid this month. Surely I have already earnt the bonus, so can they really do this?
Is there anything in your contract about bonuses and when they are paid? If so, your employers must adhere to the terms and conditions of that contract. To treat you differently because you are on maternity leave is blatent discrimination. I think you could just mention the words sex discrimination and they might just change their minds pretty rapidly.
The law seems unclear on this point. Remuneration is covered by the Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations 1999, but bonuses are not specifically dealt with.
I also think they have to adhere to paying you your bonus. The other thing that changes under your contract whilst you are on maternity leave is your monthly/weekly salary. I am due to go off for six months in June and we are contracted to get our bonus in December, and I've been told that legally I am still entitled to receive the full years bonus in December. Sounds like they are just trying to be awkward.
Seem to remember that I was in a a similar position. I put a couple of weeks down as holiday before starting maternity leave (during which time it ceased to accrue)in order to get as many weeks worth of bonus as possible. Don't think I managed the full 6 months quite but definitely got pro rata for the weeks I had officially worked.
However you may need to check your contract in case bonus awards are discretionary rather than earned as of right. If you are entitled and they are making this conditional on your return to work then I believe they should have stated this before the commencement of your leave. MA will know for sure.
I nalways thought that you were entitled to everything as if you were working i.e holidays and sick pay isnt discounted to over a shorter period therefore i dont see why it would be any different if it is in regard to bonus for work completed prior to maternity but as someone else said contact the maternity alliance or your local CAB as they will chase it up for u.