Shared Parental Leave causing waves in the courts!
The Shared Parental Leave Regulations came into force in December 2014 allowing parents to share the care of the child over the 52 week leave period following the birth/adoption. SPL also saw the end of additional paternity leave.
Almost three years in and the SPL regulations are causing waves in the courts! The reason behind this is enhanced payments during maternity leave when compared with shared parental leave pay during SPL. The former is usually female whilst the latter is predominantly male. When you throw all of this into the mix you end up with a recipe for sex discrimination!
So, why should a male on leave to care for his new born/adopted child receive less pay than a female doing exactly the same thing. Well, the Tribunal in the case of Ali v Capita Customer Management Ltd  ruled in favour of Mr Ali concluding that a female on maternity leave could be compared with a male on SPL; whilst the Tribunal in Hextall v Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police  ruled in favour of the police force concluding that the correct comparator for a man on SPL was a woman on SPL and not a woman on maternity leave.
Both cases have been appealed so it’s a case of watch this space for now!
In October 2016, the Scottish courts saw the first case test case in relation to SPL and pay in the case of Snell v Network Rail . Mr Snell was awarded £30,000 after network rail, whom both parents worked for, refused to pay Mr Snell the same amount of pay during SPL as his wife. The court ruled that network rail’s policy was indirectly discriminatory against males.
These are just the first few cases on SPL and suspect they will not be the last.
If you are not sure about your policy on shared parental leave and pay and you don’t want to find yourself being a respondent in a case similar to the above, please contact us to review your policies!
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