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Police officer wins claim over pay for shared parental leave

A police force discriminated against a male officer by paying him less while he was on shared parental leave than a woman would have received while on maternity leave.

That was the decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal in a case involving Leicestershire Constabulary and one of its officers.

The officer's claim relied on the 'provision, criterion or practice' (PCP) applied by the chief constable of paying only the statutory rate of pay for those taking shared parental leave, whereas women on maternity leave were entitled to full pay for the equivalent period.

The Employment Tribunal rejected his contention that women on maternity leave were valid comparators for men on shared parental leave and so dismissed his claim of direct discrimination.

It then applied that finding in rejecting his indirect discrimination claim. It further rejected that claim on the basis that the PCP did not put men at a disadvantage compared with women.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) upheld the decision on direct discrimination but said that the tribunal had been mistaken in using that as a reason to reject the claim of indirect discrimination.

The law required the tribunal to identify the alleged disadvantage and to undertake a comparative exercise to decide whether the PCP put men at a disadvantage compared with women in no materially different circumstances.

The officer was justified in claiming that the provision of offering only statutory pay for shared parental leave disadvantaged men as they did not have the option, available to women who had given birth, of taking maternity leave at a higher rate of pay.

The (EAT) said the tribunal had erred in holding that the PCP did not put men at a disadvantage.

For further advice on any of the issues raised in this article, or for employment law advice more generally, please contact JPP Law on 020 3468 3064 or email info@jpplaw.co.uk


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