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Shared Parental Leave – Are you Discriminating?

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This article has been submitted by Bowden Jones.

Firms of all sizes need to be careful when implementing family friendly policies to avoid any practices that could be determined to be discriminatory. For example are they enhancing pay for maternity leave but not for paternity leave? What provisions are in place for shared parental leave?

A recent tribunal case in which a Father was claiming sex discrimination for the paid leave he was offered for shared parental leave has found in his favour.

Mr. Ali’s wife had a diagnosis of post-natal depression following the birth of their daughter and to combat her depression, she returned to work earlier than planned.

Mr. Ali took his paid paternity leave followed by annual leave but was told by HR that he would only be paid for 2 weeks of full pay for shared parental leave, whereas women employees at the firm he worked for were paid for 14 weeks. Their enhanced rate of pay is not consistent for male employees who only receive two weeks of pay at the statutory minimum rate.

In 2015, legislation was introduced to enable mothers to end their maternity leave early so both parents can share responsibility for caring within the baby’s first year. However, the company Mr Ali worked for continued with their old policies which were ultimately discriminatory. Mr. Ali took the case to court and the employment tribunal upheld his complaint, accepting that parents should be free to choose who takes on the role of primary carer.

This case demonstrates the need for employers to treat men and women equally in relation to child care related policies and indeed to all business practices.

If you are unsure about your current practices please do not hesitate to get in touch with Bowden Jones HR Consultancy for some friendly advice on 029 2048 4550.