14 October 2016 #Employment
In the case of Snell v Network Rail, the tribunal awarded a father just over £28,000 in compensation after he was refused the same pay as his wife while on shared parental leave.
Mr and Mrs Snell both worked for Network Rail and chose to take shared parental leave. Under the terms of Network Rail’s Family Friendly Policy in force at the time, Mr Snell was only entitled to receive statutory pay during shared parental leave whereas mothers were entitled to 26 weeks’ full pay, followed by 13 weeks’ statutory pay. Unhappy at this, he brought a grievance with Network Rail complaining that he was being discriminated against because of his sex. When his grievance was not upheld, Mr Snell brought a claim for indirect sex discrimination.
By the time of the hearing, Network Rail admitted its family friendly policy was indirectly discriminatory and Mr Snell was subsequently awarded £28,321.03 in compensation. It is understood that the company failed to provide evidence to support its argument that the policy was objectively justified and has since introduced a new policy in which mothers and their partners are paid statutory rather than enhanced shared parental pay.
Although the case is a first instance decision and is not binding, it serves to support our advice given to clients that paying different levels of shared parental leave pay to mothers and their partners is unlikely to be justified and, in turn, discriminatory.
For more information on shared parental leave and pay, see our factsheet.
For further information or support with shared parental pay, please feel free to contact our specialist employment lawyers on firstname.lastname@example.org