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Maternity rights: Return or repayment provision compatible with EC law

This report relates to 1 case(s)

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    Boyle and others v Equal Opportunities Commission [1998] IRLR 717 ECJ (2 other reports)

    • Sick man comparison not permitted

      Date:
      1 March 1999

      In Boyle v Equal Opportunities Commission the European Court of Justice has rejected a challenge under EC law to the civil service maternity scheme based on the argument that women on maternity leave were treated less favourably than men on sick leave.

    • ECJ draws the line

      Date:
      1 January 1999

      In Boyle and others v Equal Opportunities Commission (27 October 1998) EOR83A the European Court of Justice has distinguished between the unfavourable treatment of women because they are pregnant and the unfavourable treatment of women because they are on maternity leave.

A contractual term which requires a woman to undertake to return to work on the expiry of her maternity leave or otherwise to repay any amounts paid to her by her employer over and above statutory maternity pay during that period, does not contravene the equal pay principle contained in Article 119 of the Treaty of Rome and the Equal Pay Directive, rules the European Court of Justice in Boyle and others v Equal Opportunities Commission [1998] IRLR 717. In reaching that conclusion the ECJ reaffirms that, particularly during maternity leave, the position of pregnant workers and workers who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding cannot be compared to that of a man or a woman on sick leave.