Sex discrimination in the Shared Parental Leave context

09 November 2016

It has been reported that a father was indirectly discriminated against on grounds of sex when his rate of pay for shared parental leave (SPL) was less than that of his wife.

Snell v Network Rail

It has been reported that a father was indirectly discriminated against on grounds of sex when his rate of pay for shared parental leave (SPL) was less than that of his wife.

The couple worked for Network Rail. Mr Snell’s wife planned to take 27 weeks off and he would then take a share of SPL. Although she was entitled to enhanced pay, he would only get statutory pay. Mr Snell is reported to have been awarded just over £28,000.

This case has identified a significant issue for employers in ensuring that where you enhance certain rates of pay, this is mirrored elsewhere so as not to discriminate against either sex. Network Rail is said to have changed its policy so that only the statutory amount is payable to both men and women during SPL. We’d recommend a policy review to see where you stand on this payment issue.


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