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The HR Forum

Interesting article here, covering off two recent tribunals with slightly differing backstories, and different judgements.  Both are going to appeal.  It will be interesting to track this and see what the outcome is.

What does everything think about the reasoning from the ET?  Does it seem discriminatory to offer enhanced maternity pay, but only statutory shared parental pay to male staff, or does the ET judgement make sense?


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  • Hi Janet

    Yes this is a really interesting topic and PLC (a law subscription service I subscreibe too) concluded that a failure to match maternity pay and shared parental pay will not amount to direct sex discrimination although there is a risk it may amount to indirect sex discrimination.

    IPLC also stated that from a practical perspective employers that offer enhanced maternity packages usually do so because of the benefits of attracting and rewarding high-calibre employees.   It is therefore difficult to see why, all things being equal, that should not also apply to shared parental leave. A number of high profile employers have announced their intention to pay enhanced ShPP so as to equalise the benefits available to men and women, (Deloitte, Shell, PwC).

     It may be that, once the system has bedded in, the cost concerns expressed by some employers will not materialise (at least not to the extent first imagined), particularly since the additional flexibility offered by the shared parental leave scheme works both ways: if men are taking more shared parental leave, it surely means women are taking less maternity leave. However, some employers, especially those with largely male workforces, have expressed concern that the additional cost of paid leave to men will far outweigh any corresponding reduction in maternity pay for women, and may be considering reducing the amount of available maternity pay to fund shared parental pay for men.

    The new system is unlikely to transform society's habits overnight, and the government's forecast is that only 2% to 8% of eligible employees will take shared parental leave. However, one of the greatest reasons for low take up of additional paternity leave was thought to be the lack (or low level) of pay available. Take-up of SPL is likely to be much higher among employers who offer an enhanced level of pay, as the results of a survey of 250 employees from FTSE 100 companies, conducted by Linklaters,.

     PLC concludes that rather than take drastic action now to reduce maternity pay based on a worst-case-scenario estimate of the costs of shared parental pay, employers may wish to consider waiting until the system has been in place for a year to assess the level of demand and make a more informed judgment.  Another option would be to limit any changes to maternity benefits so that they only affect new employees.

    We will have to wait and see if there are any more cases!

    All the best


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