Shared Parental Leave

Shared Parental Leave

As an employer of domestic/household staff it is important you understand the obligations of the Shared Parental Leave rule.

The rules came into force in April 2015, and a recent case – the first of its kind – brought by a husband has shown that paying differing rates to a husband or wife can land you in trouble.

The case before the Employment Tribunal on the grounds of sex discrimination, was brought by a Mr. Snell, the father, against Network Rail who refused to pay him the same rate as his wife who also worked for the company.

The judgement has resulted in network Rail paying the husband over £28,000.

The couple agreed that Mrs Snell would take 27 weeks leave with Mr. Snell taking the following 12 weeks leave. However, while Mrs. Snell received her full pay for the period, her husband was informed he was only entitled to the statutory Parental Leave pay of £139.58.

In a grievance procedure with the company, Mr. Snell’s case was rejected and also rejected on appeal by the company. He then lodged an indirect sex discrimination claim with an employment tribunal. His claim was successful and he was awarded £28,321.

The tribunal heard that Network Rail has since  introduced a new family friendly policy, in which both mothers and their partners are paid statutory – rather than enhanced – shared parental pay.

The message is clear, if you employ a husband and wife, in these circumstances they must be treated equally. It may pay to take legal advice as to whether it is written into a contract of employment that only the statutory Parental Leave figure will be paid to both parties.

As always, we recommend taking appropriate professional advice before embarking  on any such course of action.