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Blog  »  July 2017  »  Shared Parental Pay: Father wins sex discrimination case - Blog
Jul 17

Posted by
Lauren Conway

Shared Parental Pay: Father wins sex discrimination case

A father, who was given only two weeks full paid parental leave when his wife was advised to return to work to combat post-natal depression, has won a sex discrimination claim. Mr. Ali was originally an employee for Telefónica whose maternity policy gave females with 26 weeks service the option of 14 weeks’ enhanced maternity pay, followed by 25 weeks at the rate of statutory maternity pay. The policy also offers new fathers two weeks full paternity pay leave. 

Mr. Ali’s wife was diagnosed with post-natal depression following the birth of their child and was advised by medical staff that returning to work would assist with her recovery. Mr. Ali took two weeks paternity leave followed by a number of week’s annual leave. Upon returning to work Mr. Ali was informed that he was entitled to take shared parental leave but that he would only be paid statutory shared parental leave. Mr. Ali claimed direct sex discrimination in an employment tribunal.

Acknowledging that two weeks maternity leave is compulsory for new mothers, Mr. Ali argued that male employees should be given the same right to leave on enhanced pay for the next 12 weeks as their female colleagues. Mr. Ali argued that his employer’s policy viewed that a man taking care of his baby is not entitled to the same pay as a woman taking care of her baby, a choice that was denied to him and his wife.


The ET upheld Mr. Ali’s sex discrimination claim. The ET believed that the role of primary carer should be the choice if the parents and that it should be free of “generalised assumptions” that the mother should be the primary carer and get full pay. According to the tribunal, in this case, Mr. Ali was best placed to perform that role, given his wife’s post-natal depression.

Learning Points

Employers are advised that if they enhance maternity pay that they also enhance shared parental pay. 24.7% of employers already enhance, or plan to enhance, shared parental pay to match the enhancement of maternity pay. Employers should always have a clear maternity, paternity, adoptive and shared parental leave policies in their staff handbook.

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