Maternity cover paid more than me: ask the expert

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What about getting less money if someone is on maternity cover. Is it OK? Or those two people should be treated in the same way and should receive the same amount of money. Please advise?

Editor: This very much depends. The person recruited may not have the same experience as the person they are covering or be doing exactly the same job.

Anonymous | Report this comment

I have recently found out that my maternity cover was getting paid a significant amount more than me with little and no experience. I have asked my manager why and they had no answer for me. He then told me that I would have been up for a pay review if I hadn't have been on maternity leave! I am tempted to raise it with HR but am a little unsure. Please could you advise?

Editor: Our HR expert Sandra Beale says: "I would say it is potentially discriminatory behaviour of the employer particularly the comments about the pay review as they can not be objectively justified."

Anonymous | Report this comment

I am due to go on maternity leave in 8 weeks and I was shown the advert to recruit for my replacement and the salary is £7,000 more than what I am being paid. Can they do this? I am just wondering whether they could justify it by saying they need to recruit ASAP?

Editor: As our lawyer Tracey Guest outlines above: Under every contract of employment there is an implied duty for employers not to act capriciously or inequitably in relation to pay, but whether that has been breached depends on several factors so you would need to find out on what grounds your employer has advertised the job at an increased salary. For instance, employers can argue that the higher pay is due to being unable to recruit someone quickly on a lower salary or that it reflects the fact that the job is temporary. If it is a factor such as that the cover is male that could be sex discrimination or if it is that the job is full time and you are part time that could be discrimination against part time workers. 

If there are valid and fair reasons for paying the temporary cover more then this will be acceptable. At this stage, you need more information about the reasons for the higher salary. If they refuse to answer, then you can look at raising a written grievance. 

Anonymous | Report this comment

Hi. I have just found out that my cover staff who i helped choose and I leave in 10 days. They are only getting paid £1000 more than my normal salary but is this allowed and should they tell me what their salary is.

Editor: It depends on the circumstances of your case and why the cover is being paid more, for instance, if they had to come in at short notice or through an agency. If there are reasonable grounds for paying the cover more you would not have a case, but if it is likely that there is discrimination - for instance, is the cover male and being paid more simply due to their gender? - you could put in a grievance. 

Anonymous | Report this comment

I am due to start maternity leave in 12 weeks time, my employer has decided to cover my role with a much higher pay grade. This post will be temporary at first, but i get the impression this post will become permanent at some point. I have been told I will come back to work on the same pay/grade but I feel they shuoldnt be coveing my role with a higher grade especially as if it does become permanent it will affect my future career development. My post has been reviewed for rebanding recently, but this was turned down. i am also having key areas of work taken off me and given to higher grades of staff. Is this within their right?

Editor: Any changes to your terms and conditions should be done in consultation with you - see You have a right to return to your job after ordinary maternity leave and to return to your job or a similar alternative after additional maternity leave - see

Anonymous | Report this comment

Hi i am currently on month 7 of my second maternity leave. The person covering my leave did so the 1st time round. They returned to their original role on my return post my 1st mat leave. I have now been told that their normal job is being advertised as a permanent position. I feel the implication is that the company are hoping that i won't be returning or handing in my notice rather than returning. On a legal front is this allowed as there won't be another role for my maternity cover to move into if i intend to return after my 12 months off??

Editor: If you come back to work during additional maternity leave ie before the end of 12 months, you are entitled to your original job back or a suitable alternative if this is not available - this does not mean that it can just be given to your maternity cover. See

Anonymous | Report this comment

I am currently covering for a colleague on Maternity Leave. Although they have put me onto the same grade as the person I'm covering, I am at the bottom of the pay scale and the person on Maternity Leave was paid the top of the scale. Is this right, or should I be paid the same as her whilst I am covering her role?

Editor: Are you covering her full role or are there some elements that you are not covering? Her salary would reflect her experience and skills and it may be that all her roles are not being covered.

Anonymous | Report this comment

I'm interested in learning more about part-time v. full time. I currently work on a 7/8 of a full-time contract - my request for full time was turned down on financial basis 2 years ago.
Now, my maternity cover is going to go on a full-time contract. Can my employer do that?

Editor: What are the reasons behind the full-time contract for your cover? Have you asked for a full-time contract in the last two years and has the business grown? It may be worth using this to ask for a full-time contract when you return.

Anonymous | Report this comment

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