Jonathan Davies successfully defends Leicestershire Police against a long expected test case on new shared parental leave policy
5th October 2016
Many employers including police forces pay enhanced rates of maternity pay to their female staff. In 2014, the Government legislated to introduce shared parental leave and shared parental pay. As the name suggests, that legislation permits, to a certain degree, parents to share the mother’s entitlement to maternity leave and pay to a certain degree. The legislation did not apply to police officers. However, on 27 March 2015, the Home Office issued a circular (number 11/2015) (“circular”) extending shared parental leave to police officers. However, a decision was taken that shared parental pay should be fixed at the statutory and not the enhanced rate.
Commentators have speculated since the introduction of the shared parental leave legislation whether such a difference in treatment would be contrary to the Equality Act 2010 read in the light of EU law.
In the test case of Hextall v the Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police (see link to judgment here, heard in August before the Leicester Employment Tribunal, a police officer sought to argue that such difference in treatment amounted to direct and indirect discrimination as well as breach of his right to equal pay.
The Employment Tribunal accepted all of Jonathan Davies’ arguments made on behalf of Leicestershire Police in defence of the claim.
The judgment is thought to be the first judicial consideration of the issue.
Pending any amendment to police pay regulations to permit enhanced pay to fathers taking shared parental leave, the judgment is relevant to all police forces in the UK who may be subject to similar challenges.
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