An Employment Tribunal has ruled that it is direct sex discrimination not to pay full salary to a father taking shared parental leave, in circumstances where a mother taking maternity leave in the same period would receive full pay.
The decision was made in the case of Mr M Ali vs Capita Customer Management Limited.
The claimant, Mr Ali, was a call centre employee of Telefonica (the parent company of the O2 mobile phone network) In a 2013 deal, 2,308 Telefonica staff were transferred in a TUPE arrangement to Capita.
Mr Ali’s wife suffered from post-natal depression and was advised by her doctor to return to work. Mr Ali requested paternity leave to care for his child, but was offered only two weeks of leave on full pay. Telefonica’s female employees received 14 weeks of maternity leave paid at an enhanced rate. The usual policy for men was two weeks’ leave at the statutory minimum rate.
Requests for the additional leave were unsuccessfully pursued via his line manager and Capita’s HR Department.
Legislation introduced in 2015 allows both parents to share parental leave of up to 37 paid weeks and 50 weeks in total. It appears Capita continued to rely on the previous discriminatory rules.
After Capita’s internal grievance procedures failed to resolve the issue, Mr Ali took the telecoms giant to an Employment Tribunal, and secured an outcome likely to set a precedent for future case of a similar nature.