Can my employer refuse to pay childcare vouchers during maternity leave?

My pay for the first six weeks of SMP is calculated based on my average earnings at a time when I was/am salary salary sacrificing for childcare vouchers. Therefore I will receive reduced pay for that six-week period but won’t receive the benefit of childcare vouchers as it is now not unlawful for companies to suspend them. I find this really unfair and morally it cannot be right but as far as I know, this hasn’t been challenged or tested so far. Please can someone advise on the position of this and what employers should be doing? My concern is that my employer will do the legal minimum because at the moment there is nothing stopping them from doing that and I will be at a massive financial disadvantage at a time when I am only receiving SMP so already things are tight.

The issue of whether your employer needs to continue to pay your childcare voucher is dependant on whether the vouchers are provided as a benefit in addition to your salary or are paid under a salary sacrifice scheme.

You have stated in your e-mail that your vouchers are paid as part of a salary sacrificing scheme. This means that the vouchers amount to remuneration. This is important because the law states that when an employee is on maternity leave they are entitled to all of the benefits of their terms and conditions apart from remuneration. Remuneration is either paid in line with contractual maternity pay or statutory maternity pay which is 6 weeks at 90% of your salary and then £140.98 for 33 weeks ( subject to your earnings not being less than the lower earnings rate).

When your employer calculates the first part of your maternity pay they should do so based on your salary before any deductions and apply the deductions from this point. As your childcare vouchers will be suspended the contribution should not then be considered. If you are concerned that your maternity pay is not being paid at the correct rate you should raise this immediately with your employer.





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