Can an enhanced maternity scheme be changed?

I’m currently on maternity leave, but have found out I am pregnant with my second child. It means I would be back at work for three months before going on leave again. One of my team has just announced she’s pregnant and a week later my boss told her that they are changing the maternity benefits to less generous ones. She has expressed her shock that they announced a change AFTER she had informed them. An hour later they agreed she could keep the previous benefits plan, but they would be changing it in the future. My question is this, can they give one member of the team enhanced maternity benefits and someone else (me) different benefits if they are both going on maternity leave within the same year (and just three months apart)?

Legally companies only have to pay statutory maternity pay (as long as the employee has the correct amount of service) and any enhanced maternity pay packages are at the discretion of the company. It would be a good idea to have a look at your contract to see if it mentions maternity pay in there. If it does then you will have more of a case and they will need to consult with you if they are making changes to the package.

It would be best practice for your company to make an announcement to let everyone know of the changes they are planning on making to the policy and when they will come into effect. It is usually the case where there will be someone pregnant when the changes happen (depending on the size of the company), but they should discuss this and try and offer a compromise between the changes. Legally they don’t have to do this unless it’s contractual.
Unfortunately, they can have someone on different maternity packages if they are making changes, even if you are just a few months apart. It would be worth having a chat with the employer once you are ready and ask them about the changes you have heard about to the maternity package. They might be willing to offer you a compromise.

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