Parents of babies born or due on or after 5 April 2015 may be entitled to shared parental leave and pay.
As companies across the country prepare for the introduction of these new family friendly laws, BIS has produced a helpful online calculator for parents to establish leave and pay.
The Government has also announced that some companies (including Shell, Deloitte, Linklaters and the civil service) will pay employees on shared parental leave an enhanced package in line with the enhanced maternity packages that they pay to their female employees who take maternity leave. Should all employers do the same?
The answer to this question should be considered against the backdrop of a recent Employment Tribunal case. The tribunal found that Ford Motor Company’s failure to pay a male employee an enhanced ‘additional paternity pay’ during his period of additional paternity leave (the predecessor to shared parental leave and pay) at the same rate as the higher/enhanced maternity pay that they paid to their female employees was not sex discrimination against men. This is because of the following two reasons.
First, a female applicant for additional paternity leave (for example a same-sex partner) would have been treated in the same way as this male employee. Second, Ford’s decision to pay women on maternity leave an enhanced package was justified because Ford wanted to recruit and retain women in a male-dominated workforce.
Other employers may not be able to rely on Ford’s second justification above. All employers should carefully consider this case when determining whether or not to pay enhanced shared parental pay if they pay enhanced maternity pay. They should also consider the impact on employee relations and embracing diversity in the workplace.
For further information on shared parental leave and ‘how to make it work’ please see our previous article.
- Shuter v Ford Motor Company limited.
- Jo Swinson, the Employment Relations Minister’s press release.
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