Should my pay have been reviewed despite maternity leave?

My company undertakes an annual performance cycle where salaries are reviewed and any performance-related bonus is decided, based on an individual’s performance that year, graded 1 (low) – 5 (high).
Whilst off on maternity leave, I was excluded from the annual pay review, because there was deemed to be “no basis” for reviewing my performance (I was on leave for the whole of the performance year). I received no pay increase and no bonus. I feel it is fair for no bonus to be paid, given my non-attendance at work. However, I don’t feel it is fair to deem there to be no basis for reviewing my salary. I feel my employer could refer back to my performance the previous year and assume that I would be performing the same. It is helpful that I achieved the same performance grade for the year after I returned from leave, i.e. that I demonstrated continuity of performance. Would you agree that it is discriminatory not to have reviewed my salary? I am now earning less than I would have done had I not had a baby.

I understand that you have taken two years off work after having your second child. The first year was taken as maternity leave and the second year was an unpaid “career break”.

The company undertake an annual performance cycle where salaries are reviewed and any performance-related bonuses decided on the basis of the individual’s performance that year. The policy regarding this states that if you have been active in the firm for less than three months in a performance year you will receive a “no basis” rating. As you have not been active within the last two years your employer have provided you with a no basis rating for two years and accordingly you have not received any salary increase.

I agree that, had you returned to work following your maternity leave, it would have been appropriate for your employer to consider previous appraisals in order to make an informed decision as to what performance grade, had you not been on maternity leave, you would have received. Had you returned following maternity leave and could prove you did not receive an increase to your salary because of your pregnancy or maternity leave then you may have had a claim for unlawful discrimination/ However, such a claim would have had to have been brought within three months of the date of the act of discrimination. Protection against pregnancy or maternity-related discrimination is valid from the time your pregnancy starts until the date you return from maternity leave. Any claim would therefore have had to have been brought within the first three months of your career break.

I note that confirm you achieved the same performance grade when you returned to work, and therefore demonstrated continuity of performance. I presume this was on return from the second, i.e., the career break, year. Any claim for discrimination related to you pregnancy or maternity leave would now be out of time.

You may be able to submit a grievance, on the basis of your continuity of performance upon your return, but as you were off work for two continuous years, and therefore missed two full performance years, the company may be able to justify their position.

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