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Father wins Sex Discrimination claim over Shared Parental Leave

14 replies

GahBuggerit · 03/10/2016 14:47

Jist of the story is Network Rail pay full pay to Mothers and only stat to fathers for Shared Parental Leave. As a result of the tribunal they have now decreased their generous entitlement to Stat only for the mother.

While I feel its Shame on Network Rail for doing this I cant but help feel very angry that the father has forced their hand like this. I have very mixed feelings over SPL anyway which is clouding my judgement I guess.

I feel he had over egged it somewhat though, distress and hospitalisation for high BP over the stress of it all Hmm

OP posts:

SolomanDaisy · 03/10/2016 14:50

Wow, that is so shit for women working for Network Rail. I hope everyone involved in the case is proud of themselves.


AyeAmarok · 03/10/2016 14:53

I always say on here that the employers that give generous Maternity packages tend to be those that mostly employ men. And I always say that's because it's so cheap for them to do it and they then appear progressive, when they're anything but.

This sort of proves it.



AndNowItsSeven · 03/10/2016 14:54

What a selfish man.


MovingOnUpMovingOnOut · 03/10/2016 14:54

That is absolutely not the fault of the male employee. It is completely the employer that is at fault. Their decision not to pay any enhancement to anyone looks like spite. They did not have to do that.

Until there is true equality it will still be women who end up worse. Equality means paying both parents the same for leave after a baby. Otherwise it is not a true choice.


sleepyhead · 03/10/2016 14:54

I don't see how he, in his particular case, was discriminated against. His wife had her 6 months at full pay and then 1 week at SMP. If she had stayed at home for longer she would have been paid at the same rate as her husband was.

I agree that if she had been off for, say, 3 months and then he had started shared leave at that point and been paid at the statutory rate (which to be fair he would have been) he would have been discriminated against.

I think this was a stupid test case which was always going to end up with the company cutting the extra mat pay. They were never going to roll over and pay potentially an extra 6 months full pay to couples who shared the leave 6 months each.

I would have supported a case which argued for the 6 months full pay to be shared between couples.


SolomanDaisy · 03/10/2016 14:55

He was 'unable to support his wife fully because he was distracted by the grievance'. Network rail have behaved appallingly but he sounds ridiculously self centered and focused on his own 'rights'.


MovingOnUpMovingOnOut · 03/10/2016 14:59

In this particular example where BOTH parents work for Network Rail it would have cost them precisely nothing to him instead of her.

It was sexist and the tribunal made the right decision.

Some of the comments blaming this man on the thread are shameful. Don't be angry at him, be angry at an employer who discriminates based on sex and helps to perpetuate the status quo that removes opportunity and choice from all parents including women. Be cross with Network Rail for deciding to punish others for their poor employment practices.


MovingOnUpMovingOnOut · 03/10/2016 15:03

I should correct myself, it looks like they would have paid more if they had done what he wanted but then if you employ both parents thems the breaks.

I'm really cross they have decided to cut the benefit for everyone though. Mean.


GahBuggerit · 03/10/2016 15:05

Sorry Im not dropping bombs and running off, shouldnt really be on MN but this story has really angered me I had to post

OP posts:

sleepyhead · 03/10/2016 15:07

Oh I'm absolutely blaming Network Rail. They don't seem to have tried very hard to keep the 6 months enhanced pay.

Options could have been changing the wording to say that, for eg, the 6 months enhanced pay had to be taken in the first 26 weeks of leave.

I just don't see that it was particularly reasonable, in this case to claim discrimination when a woman on leave the same weeks that he was would have been paid at the same rate.


sleepyhead · 03/10/2016 15:09

But I do agree that until shared leave includes equal benefits the uptake will remain low. Dh & I did ok out of it as I was the higher earner so it made sense for me to return to work at 6 months when my enhanced pay ran out and for him to take the statutory portion. Other couples wouldn't have been able to manage that.

Having said that, we'd have been fucked if they'd done away with my enhanced pay on the back of a case like this and I'd have been back at work at 8 weeks.


Sackmagique · 03/10/2016 15:13

True AyeAmarok- DHs employer has a fantastic maternity policy - they employ 3 women (out of 80).

They used to offer 3 weeks full pay Paternity. Up until their employees were actually having kids (start-up with very young staff initially). Then it went down to SPP sharpish.


MovingOnUpMovingOnOut · 03/10/2016 15:18

The HR Director's head should roll. They handled the whole thing appallingly which will have direcrtly contributed to the amount of award he got. An award that was only made because the policy was so obviously discriminatory that the employer admitted it before the hearing and didn't even defend it.

I absolutely agree the policy was poorly drafted and if they had done the job properly they could have avoided losing the case. They might not have avoided a case if there was any room for argument though.


wasonthelist · 14/10/2016 12:21

I blame the government (actually the DWP civil servants) for this. They held a consultation in which it was pointed out that this would happen.

Rather than address the issue, they left it hanging.

We have a similar issue with Holiday Pay - unclear rules being amended by people bringing cases.

The government should have the guts and make the effort to legislate properly - the current Shared Parental rules are a crappy make-work exercise for civil servants.

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