A father has been awarded over £28,000 by an employment tribunal after he was indirectly discriminated because of his sex due to his employer's failure to offer equal pay for both him and his wife during their shared parental leave.
Not so 'family friendly'?
The "Family Friendly Policy" produced by his employer, Network Rail, only entitled Mr Snell to statutory parental pay of around £140 per week for the 12-week parental leave period he had requested. He was also informed that he would be opted out of the pension scheme during this time.
The discrimination claim was founded upon the fact that the same policy entitled his wife, an employee of the same organisation, to a significantly higher rate of pay during shared parental leave. Mrs Snell was entitled to 26 weeks' full pay and 13 weeks' statutory pay.
Network Rail originally argued they had fulfilled their legal obligations by paying the minimum requirement and that, when determining the merits of Mr Snell's case, he was not capable of comparing himself to the mother and thus not entitled to the same pay as the circumstances were not materially the same.
However, Network Rail later admitted the policy offered by them indirectly discriminated against Mr Snell due to his sex. The fundamental result of the policy was that it put the claimant at a particular disadvantage as a man when compared with women during periods of shared parental leave.
Result of the case
Mr Snell was awarded the wage loss suffered, his pension loss and the costs of the tribunal proceedings. A compensatory award for injury to feelings was also awarded due to the surrounding circumstances of the situation.
Network Rail has, in response to this claim, now reduced a mother's entitlement under its policy to statutory only, rather than increase the entitlements of partners.
Get in touch
As we are now seeing litigation of this type with potentially far reaching effects, employers are recommended to review and consider the terms of any family friendly policies. Please contact one of the employment law team if you would like to discuss how we can assist.
The small print: This blog is for information purposes only and should not be construed in any way as providing legal advice.