Law guide: Workplace

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Contractual issues

Contractual issues

Your contract of employment continues throughout statutory parental bereavement leave unless either you or your employer expressly ends it or it expires.

Terms and conditions during paternity leave

During parental bereavement leave you have a statutory right to continue to benefit from all the terms and conditions of employment that would have applied to you had you been at work, except for the terms relating to pay.

Examples of contractual terms and conditions that continue to apply during parental bereavement leave include:

  • Gym membership
  • Participation in share schemes
  • Reimbursement of professional subscriptions
  • The use of a company car or mobile phone (unless provided for business use only)

Continuous employment and parental bereavement leave

Paternity leave counts towards an employee's period of continuous employment for the purposes of entitlement to other statutory employment rights, e.g. the right to a redundancy payment.

It also counts towards assessing seniority and length-of-service payments, such as pay increments.

Accrual of annual leave

You will continue to accrue statutory and any contractual annual leave entitlement throughout parental bereavement leave.

You cannot take annual leave during parental bereavement leave, but may take it immediately before or after it. If parental bereavement leave stops from using up your annual leave before the end of the holiday year, your employer must let you carry over the untaken leave to the next holiday year. However, you must use the carried-over leave by the end of that holiday year.

Contributions to a workplace pension scheme

For the purpose of pension rights, an employer should maintain its contribution to a workplace pension while you are taking parental bereavement leave. You must continue to pay your pension contributions if the pension scheme rules require you to do so. You will not have to make any contributions towards your pension during any period in which you are not receiving any statutory parental bereavement pay. However, you may still make voluntary contributions if the pension scheme rules allow you to do so.

Returning to work from parental bereavement leave

You will have the right return to a job with the same seniority, pension rights and similar rights. You will also have the right to return to a job with the same terms and conditions (including remuneration) that are as favourable as they would have been if you had not gone on leave.

Following parental bereavement leave, you will be entitled to return to the same job that you had before taking parental bereavement leave if you:

  • only took parental bereavement leave; or
  • took no more than 4 weeks of parental leave; or
  • (in England, Wales and Scotland) took parental bereavement leave after another period of statutory leave (except parental leave) and the total leave taken was 26 weeks or less;
  • (in Northern Ireland) took 2 or more consecutive periods of any other statutory leave that results in you taking a total period of statutory leave (except additional adoption leave) for your child of more than 4 weeks.

You still have a right to return to the same job if you return to work after having taken:

  • more than 4 weeks of parental leave; or
  • a period of parental bereavement leave or parental leave that does not comply with the above-mentioned right to return to the same job.

However, if it isn't reasonably possible for your employer to give it back to you, you'll have the right to return to another job that is both suitable and appropriate for you to do. A suitable and appropriate alternative job must be as close as possible to the previous role that you held. You must be given the same remuneration, seniority, status and the same terms and conditions of employment as if you had not been absent.

You're also entitled to benefit from any general improvements to the rate of pay or other terms and conditions introduced while you were away.

Upon returning to work, you may make a request to work flexibly, e.g. to work from home or do part-time hours.

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