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The Department for Work and Pensions has confirmed that no pension contributions for workers are required when an employee is on a period of unpaid additional maternity leave. HMRC has added that the Equality Act's maternity equality rule ensures that when a woman is on ordinary maternity leave she is entitled to have employer pension contributions paid as though she were paid her usual salary, whether or not she is paid.
Women are entitled to take 26 weeks of ordinary maternity leave and 26 weeks of additional maternity leave. For the first six weeks, a woman's statutory maternity pay is 90% of the woman's average weekly earnings and this is then the lower of £128.73 per week or 90% of the woman's earnings for the next 33 weeks. There is no duty to pay female employees anything during the final 13 weeks of additional maternity leave.
If an employer contributes to an occupational pension scheme, they must carry on making their usual contributions as pensionable service is deemed to continue for the whole time the woman is on ordinary maternity leave, for any time she is receiving any statutory maternity pay and for any time she is receiving contractual maternity pay.
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