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Shared Parental Leave and possible discrimination…

Legislation on shared parental leave and pay was introduced in early 2015, the legislation gives Mothers the option, and the right to transfer leave due after the birth of their child, to their partner if they so wish.

The Glasgow Employment Tribunal has now heard the first case which has dealt with this issue, regarding a Father who was discriminated against by his employer.

The case, ‘Snell v Network Rail Infrastructure Limited’, heard how the terms of a ‘family friendly policy’ in place at Network Rail indirectly discriminated against Mr Snell, a Father, as he was only able to receive statutory shared parental pay whereas, Mrs Snell, the Mother was able to receive full pay during the shared parental leave.

In this case, Mr Snell, the Claimant and a Father, pursued a case against his employer, Network Rail (the Respondent) citing that their policy on shared parental leave and pay, discriminated against men on the basis that Mothers were entitled to enhanced shared parental pay, while Fathers were entitled only to the statutory pay.

Both Mr and Mrs Snell were employed by Network Rail, Mr Snell wished to take 12 weeks leave and Mrs Snell, 27 weeks leave. Prior to starting his claim, Mr Snell raised a grievance in respect of what he perceived to be sex discrimination, this was rejected by Network Rail and Mr Snell commenced a claim at the Employment Tribunal.

Before the full hearing Mr Snell withdrew his claim for direct discrimination and Network rail agreed not to contest the claim of indirect discrimination, which meant that the Tribunal could focus its attentions on what remedy to award.

The Claimant was awarded approximately £25,000 including an award for injury to feelings and for future loss, which reflected the difference between statutory shared parental pay, and what the Claimant would have received if he had received the enhanced level of pay as a Mother would have.

Employers take note…
This case provides guidance to employers on a relatively new piece of legislation. Employers should review their policies and ensure that men and women are treated equally and not discriminated against.

Network rail has reportedly now changed its family friendly policy to state that parental leave is only paid at the statutory rate for all employees. Employers should therefore consider any policies currently in place and the wording so as to avoid any potential claims of discrimination wikipedia reference.

Please contact Lindsey or Sarah on 0161 478 3800 or on hello@peachlaw.co.uk should you wish to discuss shared parental leave further or your family friendly policies.

Shared Parental Leave and possible discrimination…

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