No need to pay more to fathers on shared paternity leave
The Court of Appeal recently clarified how much employers should pay employees on shared paternity leave in two linked cases heard together Ali v Capita Customer Management Ltd; Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police v Hextall .
The court ruled against two fathers seeking extra pay while on shared parental leave deciding that even though they received less than a birth mother on maternity leave, this was not sex discrimination.
Unless there is a successful appeal to the Supreme Court, employers who pay mothers more than the statutory rates when on maternity leave should be able to continue paying parents just the statutory minimum when taking shared parental leave.
In reasoning, the court decided that this situation was covered by the exceptions in the Equality Act 2010 which allow for the special treatment of mothers in connection with pregnancy and childbirth. The court also compared the fathers to mothers taking shared parental leave, rather than maternity leave. Both the fathers and mothers would get the same rate of pay, so there was no indirect discrimination.
Since April 2015, parents can share parental leave after the birth or adoption of a child. During the first two weeks after birth or four weeks for a mother working in a factory, the mother has to take compulsory maternity leave. After that, a couple can take it in turns to take shared parental leave or be off work at the same time. Each year, the government sets a minimum rate for shared parental pay. Most employers who pay more generous, enhanced maternity pay to birth mothers on maternity leave, often only pay the statutory minimum to parents taking shared parental leave.
It is a good idea for all employers to review the staff pay arrangements on an annual basis to keep in line with any new legislative developments and check that no discriminatory practices have crept in.
This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.