A Scottish Employment Tribunal awarded just over £28,000 to a father who brought a sex discrimination claim alleging that his employer's shared parental leave policy was discriminatory. 

The case does not appear to have been formally reported as yet so some detail is lacking but it seems that the employer offered 26 weeks of full pay to mothers taking shared parental leave but only statutory pay (currently £139.58 per week) to fathers/partners who took shared parental leave. Also, it is noteworthy that the employer appears to have conceded the claim before the case was heard by the Tribunal so their earlier argument that the difference in treatment was justified was not tested. 

Despite the sketchy details, there are some important points to note: 

  • Men and women should be treated equally in terms of what is offered under the employer's shared parental leave policy - otherwise there could be sex discrimination claims; and 
  • The issue of whether it is discriminatory to offer enhanced maternity pay to mothers but the same shared parental leave pay to all parents was not considered by this case. 

Employers may wish to review, and possibly revise, their family leave policies in light of this recent decision. In case you are wondering, the employer in this case changed their policy so now both mothers and fathers/partners get the same level of pay when they go on shared parental leave (albeit only statutory pay is now given to all, meaning mothers are worse off as a result).