No. Parental leave is directly linked to parenthood and family obligations. Treating a person less favourably due to these reasons is prohibited by law (clause 6 (2) 1) of the Gender Equality Act). This prohibition applies to both male and female employees.
An employee returning from parental leave must be given their previous job or an equivalent job. They must be paid at least the same salary as before the leave or, if there has been a general pay rise in the collective, the employee returning from parental leave must be paid the same salary that is paid to other employees for work of equal value. A probationary period or an induction period with reduced pay may not be applied to an employee who has returned to work from parental leave on the grounds that the employee has been absent from work because of parental leave.
If an employee returning from parental leave is paid a lower salary than before the leave, this is discriminatory behaviour by the employer.
There was a case in the practice of the Equality Commissioner where an employer paid all employees who returned from parental leave 10% less than their previous salary for four to six months for several years. The employer justified their behaviour with the claim that the qualifications of the employees returning from parental leave had decreased and they needed time and additional training to settle in. The employer had to reduce the salaries of those employees to use the saved ten per cent to pay additional remuneration to instructors and cover training costs.
If an employee has been away from work for five years due to the consecutive births of several children and they need to acquire the knowledge and skills that their colleagues have developed in the meantime, the employer must provide the employee with the training required to develop their work-related knowledge and skills at the expense of the employer. The employer must bear the training expenses and pay the employee the average wage during the training. Covering training expenses and the additional remuneration of instructors on the account of reducing the salary of persons returning from parental leave is prohibited (clause 28 (2) 5) of the Employment Contracts Act, subsections 31 (1), (6) and (10) of the Civil Service Act).
Clause 6 (2) 1) of the Gender Equality Act
Clause 28 (2) 5) of the Employment Contracts Act
Subsection 31 (1), (6) ad (10) of the Civil Service Act
The activities of an employer are also deemed to be discriminatory if the employer treats a person less favourably due to pregnancy, child-birth, parenting, performance of family obligations or other circumstances related to gender (subsection 6 (2) of the Gender Equality Act).
This explanation does not constitute legal aid in a specific case. Therefore, if you feel that you have been treated unequally, but you did not find a solution to your problem in this article, or if you have a question, please contact the Equality Commissioner by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone +372 626 9059. The anonymity of the person is guaranteed when contacting the Commissioner.