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Equal pay: Refusing to pay Christmas bonus to women on parental leave may not be discriminatory

In Lewen v Denda [2000] IRLR 67, the European Court of Justice rules that, where a bonus that is paid voluntarily as an exceptional allowance at Christmas is awarded retroactively as pay for work done, an employer is precluded by Article 141 of the Treaty of Rome from excluding female workers on parental leave entirely from the benefit of the bonus, without taking account of the work done. But an employer may lawfully refuse to pay such a bonus to a woman on parental leave where that payment is subject only to her being in active employment.