Poll: 79% think shared parental leave should be paid the same as enhanced maternity pay


Employee Benefits poll: More than three-quarters (79%) of respondents think that shared parental leave should be paid at the same rate as enhanced maternity pay.

A straw poll of www.employeebenefits.co.uk readers, which received 56 responses, also found that 14% of respondents do not believe that shared parental leave should be paid the same as enhanced maternity pay, while 7% do not know whether shared parental pay and enhanced maternity pay should be equalised.

Earlier this month, The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) ruled that a police constable at Leicestershire Police was subject to indirect sex discrimination, for only being able to take shared parental leave at the statutory rate of pay, whereas female constables have the option of taking enhanced maternity leave at full pay.

In the case Hextall v Chief Constable Leicestershire Police, Hextall is a police constable with the Roads Armed Policing Team. His second child was born on 29 April 2015 and he took shared parental leave from 1 June to 6 September 2015 at a rate of £139.58 a week. Hextall argued that, had he been a female constable taking Leicestershire Police’s enhanced maternity leave benefit, he would have been entitled to receive his full salary for the duration.

Leicestershire Police’s maternity leave and pay policy enables female staff, who are entitled to and are taking the statutory 52 weeks of ordinary maternity leave and additional maternity leave, to also receive an occupational maternity pay benefit. This allows eligible female officers who have the required amount of continuous service to receive 18 weeks of maternity leave on full pay. Although Hextall’s employment contract includes the right to enhanced maternity pay, he is unable to take it due to his gender.

The Employment Tribunal (ET) dismissed Hextall’s claims of direct and indirect sex discrimination and for equal pay in August 2016. Hextall appealed the decision regarding indirect sex discrimination, bringing the case to the EAT in January 2018. The judgment was handed down on 1 May 2018.

The employment judge allowed the appeal, analysing how the criteria for indirect sex discrimination is tested in order to demonstrate a comparative disadvantage. The disadvantage in this case was shared parental leave being paid at a lesser rate than maternity leave, not whether paying only the statutory rate of pay for shared parental leave disadvantaged men, as the ET thought. The case is to be remitted for rehearing to a differently constituted ET.

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