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Father Wins Shared Parental Leave Sex Discrimination Case

Father Wins Shared Parental Leave Sex Discrimination Case

A father-to-be has uncovered discriminatory pay within Network Rail’s Shared Parental Leave policy following the birth of his child.

Mr Snell and his wife, both employees at Network Rail, discovered that in using their Shared Parental Leave Mrs Snell would be paid her full salary, for up to six months, while Mr Snell was only entitled to statutory parental pay of £139.58 per week.

Mr Snell submitted a grievance to his employer stating: "Under this policy, payments to mothers on Shared Parental Leave will be at significantly different rates to fathers. i.e. 26 weeks full pay and 13 weeks statutory compared with 39 weeks statutory for fathers.

"As a result of this I believe I am being discriminated against because of my sex."

His grievance was rejected after waiting for over a month for the grievance hearing. Network Rail claimed that because their policy offered him statutory parental pay it was meeting the legal requirements.

Mr Snell decided to appeal the decision, however, his appeal was so delayed that his baby had been born by the time it was heard. Mr Snell suffered stress and anxiety as a result of this further delay to his case.

Mr Snell then took his sex discrimination claim to the employment tribunal where a judge ruled in his favour and awarded him a £28,321 compensation payment concluding that Network Rail’s “Family Friendly Policy” was discriminatory.

The Judge said: "By the time of the hearing it was no longer in dispute that Mr Snell was indirectly discriminated against by Network Rail in relation to his sex by the application of their family friendly policy which put the claimant at a particular disadvantage as a man, when compared with women during periods of shared parental leave."

Network Rail has now introduced a non-discriminatory policy where both male and female employees are only entitled to statutory pay when taking Shared Parental Leave.