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Father denied full pay during shared parental leave

A father in Glasgow is celebrating a £30,000 tribunal win for sex discrimination, after his employer would only pay him statutory pay during shared parental leave, although mothers receive full pay.

The employment tribunal heard that the Network Rail employee David Snell and his wife, wanted to take advantage of the opportunity of shared parental leave after the arrival of the baby, dividing the leave between both parents.

Mr Snell’s wife was planning to take 27 weeks’ leave, and then he would take 12 weeks afterwards. But when applying for the leave, he was told by his employer that he was only eligible to receive statutory parental pay of £139.58 per week, but his wife would receive full pay for 26 weeks.

He was also informed that while he was on leave, he would taken out of the firm’s pension scheme.

Mr Snell lodged a complaint saying that under this policy, payments to fathers on shared parental leave will be significantly different to what mothers can recieve. Women will receive 26 weeks’ of full pay and 13 weeks’ statutory pay, whereas men will get 39 weeks’ statutory pay. Mr Snell said that he was being discriminated against because of his gender.

His employers Network Rail, dismissed his complaint and argued that it had met what it considered to be its legal requirement, as it was only obliged to pay statutory parental pay. So Mr Snell took his case to an employment tribunal.

The Judge agreed that the company’s policy put Mr Snell at a disadvantage because he was a man. The tribunal awarded £28,321.03 to Mr Snell. Network Rail admitted that its policy was discriminatory and has since reduced women’s maternity leave entitlement to statutory payment only.

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