Can an employer postpone the promotion of an employee on maternity leave until their due return date?

It is not advisable to postpone the promotion of an employee on maternity leave until their return date. To delay a promotion that the employee would otherwise have received is likely to amount to unfavourable treatment. If the reason for the delay is the fact that they are on maternity leave, it will amount to pregnancy and maternity discrimination.

There may be benefits that accompany a promotion. For example, employees at a certain level may have access to benefits such as life cover, private health care or a company car. If the employee on maternity leave is denied access to these benefits because of the delay in the promotion, and has to wait until their maternity leave is over to access them, this also creates an exposure to liability for pregnancy and maternity discrimination.