- In May 2019, the Court of Appeal heard a conjoined appeal regarding pay that was provided to employees taking shared parental leave. Although employees in this position were entitled to statutory pay, those who took maternity leave received higher levels of pay.
- In the cases of Hextall v Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police and Ali v Capita Customer Management, the claimants argued that policies of this nature served to directly and indirectly discriminate against male employees.
- The Employment Tribunal, Employment Appeal Tribunal and Court of Appeal all dismissed their claims.
- The Court of Appeal outlined that the purpose of taking maternity leave is not just to facilitate childcare. There are important areas that are exclusive for the birth mother that cannot be shared with the father or partner of the child, such as recuperating from the effects of childbirth, breastfeeding and creating the special relationship between mother and baby. Therefore, it could not be compared to shared parental leave as there was a material difference between the two.
What you need to do…
Nothing! Companies can now be reassured that the act of providing enhanced maternity leave options for employees will not be deemed discriminatory against those taking shared parental leave and that this is not going to be changed by any further commentary from the Supreme Court. There is also no expectation on companies to provide enhanced rates of family leave, so long as the statutory minimum requirements are offered.
BUT, don’t forget…that minimum rates of pay for family leave are to increase from 5 April 2020 to £151.20 per week.
Now is a perfect time to prepare amendments to your family-friendly policies. Too busy? Why not get in touch with Aspire Human Resources to see how we can assist you on 0121 445 6178.