In 2015 Shared Parental Leave was introduced. This allowed parents to share the care of their child and provided for statutory shared parental leave pay for a period of up to 37 weeks. The statutory rate is currently £145.18 per week.

An employee on maternity leave is entitled to statutory maternity pay which is 6 weeks at 90% of the employee’s full pay and 33 weeks at the statutory rate which is also £145.18 per week.

Some employers offer enhanced maternity pay and at the time that shared parental leave was introduced it was questioned as to whether employees on shared parental leave should also receive enhanced pay (if offered by the employer for maternity leave), to prevent any claim for discrimination.

Recently, the Employment Appeal Tribunal considered this point in the case of Capita Customer Management v Ali. The Employment Appeal Tribunal took the view that there was not any direct discrimination if an employer offered enhanced maternity pay but did not offer enhanced shared parental leave pay.

However, around the same time a further claim was heard (Hextall v Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police) for direct and indirect discrimination as the Police paid enhanced maternity pay but not enhanced statutory shared parental leave pay. Initially, the Tribunal found that there was not an act of discrimination, however, the Employment Appeal Tribunal referred it back to the Tribunal to reconsider the claim for indirect discrimination.

The claim put forward by the employee was that male employees were at a disadvantage as they could only take shared parental leave at the statutory rate but the female employees had the right to receive enhanced maternity pay.

The case of Hextall is one to be watched as it could lead to claims from male employees that they should be paid the same as female employees on maternity leave. Therefore, if you offer enhanced maternity pay it may be necessary to offer enhanced shared parental leave.

If you require any professional advice on this matter, please do call us today where one of our Employment Law Solicitors would be delighted to take your call. 01483 411533!