UK fathers not entitled to same pay as mothers on maternity leave UK fathers not entitled to same pay as mothers on maternity leave

UK fathers not entitled to same pay as mothers on maternity leave
18 Apr 2018

It is not discriminatory for employers to refuse a new father enhanced pay while on shared parental leave even if women are given enhanced maternity pay, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled.

Last year, an employment tribunal had ruled that it was direct sex discrimination for Capita Customer Management to allow new father Mr Ali only two weeks’ leave on full pay if it allowed female staff to take 14 weeks’ maternity leave on their full salary.

But according to Personnel Todaythe appeal judge found that the employment tribunal had failed to consider the purpose of paid maternity leave and, therefore, concluded that it was not discriminatory to refuse a father the same rights as a new mother after the birth of a child.

Mr Ali’s wife had been advised to return to work to help with her post-natal depression. Under the company’s policy, Mr Ali was able to take two weeks’ fully-paid paternity leave after the birth of his child, followed by a number of weeks’ annual leave.

The EAT found the employment tribunal had wrongly decided that Mr Ali’s circumstances were comparable to those of a woman who had recently given birth as both had leave to care for their child. It said the purpose of maternity pay and leave was to recognise the “health and wellbeing of a woman in pregnancy, confinement and after recent childbirth”.

The decision was welcomed by work-life balance charity, Working Families.

Chief executive Sarah Jackson said: "We intervened in this case because the particular workplace disadvantage women face having experienced pregnancy and childbirth must continue to be recognised in law. Only women can experience childbirth, and maternity leave is to protect women’s health and wellbeing – it cannot simply be equated with ‘childcare’".

She continued that, although the organisation had “long called for greater rights and pay for working fathers, including properly paid, standalone period of extended paternity leave for fathers”, such benefits should “complement, not undermine”, the rights of working mothers. “This is a not a zero-sum game," Jackson said.

Emma

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

It is not discriminatory for employers to refuse a new father enhanced pay while on shared parental leave even if women are given enhanced maternity pay, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled.

Last year, an employment tribunal had ruled that it was direct sex discrimination for Capita Customer Management to allow new father Mr Ali only two weeks’ leave on full pay if it allowed female staff to take 14 weeks’ maternity leave on their full salary.

But according to Personnel Todaythe appeal judge found that the employment tribunal had failed to consider the purpose of paid maternity leave and, therefore, concluded that it was not discriminatory to refuse a father the same rights as a new mother after the birth of a child.

Mr Ali’s wife had been advised to return to work to help with her post-natal depression. Under the company’s policy, Mr Ali was able to take two weeks’ fully-paid paternity leave after the birth of his child, followed by a number of weeks’ annual leave.

The EAT found the employment tribunal had wrongly decided that Mr Ali’s circumstances were comparable to those of a woman who had recently given birth as both had leave to care for their child. It said the purpose of maternity pay and leave was to recognise the “health and wellbeing of a woman in pregnancy, confinement and after recent childbirth”.

The decision was welcomed by work-life balance charity, Working Families.

Chief executive Sarah Jackson said: "We intervened in this case because the particular workplace disadvantage women face having experienced pregnancy and childbirth must continue to be recognised in law. Only women can experience childbirth, and maternity leave is to protect women’s health and wellbeing – it cannot simply be equated with ‘childcare’".

She continued that, although the organisation had “long called for greater rights and pay for working fathers, including properly paid, standalone period of extended paternity leave for fathers”, such benefits should “complement, not undermine”, the rights of working mothers. “This is a not a zero-sum game," Jackson said.

Emma

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

Leave a Reply

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing