Are employees on maternity leave entitled to accrue leave?

HRD talks to Sherridan Cook, Partner at Buddle Findlay, about conditions employees can accrue leave

Are employees on maternity leave entitled to accrue leave?

Any employee who is on parental leave is accruing leave at the same time they are still working for the employer, according to Sherridan Cook, Partner at Buddle Findlay.

“So they accrue their annual holidays and their service counts towards other types of leave as well,” Cook told HRD.

The only difference is when they return to work and they take their annual holidays.

Cook added that the annual holiday pay is calculated only based on the average weekly earnings over the previous 12 months.

“So that means that when the employee returning from parental leave takes leave in the 12 months following returning, their holiday pay is going to be less than their ordinary weekly pay.”

This is because holiday pay is normally calculated either at the greater of your average weekly earnings over the last 12 months or the ordinary weekly pay at the time they take their leave

“So when they are returning from parental leave that leave they accrued is calculated at the rate of average weekly earnings.”

Moreover, HRD also asked Cook about when an employee can sue an employer for defamation.

Employers are entitled to put allegations and concerns regarding an employee’s conduct or their performance to the employee, said Cook.

“They can do so, provided it is framed in the right way, without fear of being sued for defamation.”

Cook added that there are defenses to defamation, such as truth and honest opinion.

“But if the employer was saying things about the employee to third parties that were not justified and were regarded as being defamatory then the employee could potentially sue the employer,” said Cook.

“You don’t see it very often, defamation is a hard course of action.”


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