In the recent case of Peninsula Business Services v Donaldson, a court has decided that it is not discriminatory to stop providing childcare vouchers during maternity leave.
Women on maternity leave are entitled to non-pay benefits during maternity leave. If an employer does not continue to provide those benefits an employer can be found to have discriminated against the woman on the grounds of her maternity leave and her sex. In this case, the court therefore had to decide whether the vouchers constituted pay. The court decided that the vouchers did constitute pay as pay had been substituted with vouchers under a salary sacrifice scheme. The vouchers could therefore be discontinued during maternity leave without the employer being found to have discriminated against the woman.
Employees need to be aware of this decision so that they can plan for care of an older child whilst on maternity leave. Employers need to be aware of this if they offer childcare vouchers.