In 2014, Shared Parental Leave was introduced. This effectively means that a mother can transfer her maternity pay and leave over to the father, secondary adopter or secondary surrogate parent.
In 2016, Network Rail Infrastructure had a shared parental policy which only entitled mothers, primary adopters or first surrogate parents to enhanced pay. They could receive up to 26 weeks’ full pay, followed by 13 weeks’ paid at the statutory rate and 13 weeks’ unpaid. But…..partners and secondary parents were only entitled to 39 weeks’ statutory pay and 13 weeks’ unpaid!
Mr Snell and his wife were both employees of Network Rail. Mr Snell’s wife had indicated she intended to take 27 weeks and he intended to take 12 weeks. He was informed by the employer that he would receive 12 weeks statutory shared parental pay.
ACAS guidance states ‘the important thing is that within a Shared Parental Leave scheme, men and woman are treated equally and paid the same rate in the same circumstances’.
Mr Snell took Network Rail to a tribunal following his unsuccessful grievance. The employment tribunal decided Mr Snell had been indirectly discriminated against and awarded him £27,000.
The employer would also have incurred costs preparing for this tribunal with solicitors and management time, let alone any damage to their brand and reputation.
Here at aspire cambridge we have accredited HR CIPD consultants on hand to provide you with up to date employment law advice, provide tailored policies or HR support on a pay as you go basis. Please get in touch today on 01223 855441 to avoid your business making a similar mistake to Network Rail.