Employers risk falling foul of sex discrimination rules if they offer new parents different rates of shared parental pay, a Lancashire-based employment lawyer is warning.
Following the introduction of shared parental leave in April 2015, commercial partner at WHN, Michael Shroot, believes that there has been a spike in the number of men being discriminated against in the workplace.
Although employers have the choice to enhance statutory pay by offering full pay within a shared parental leave policy, differing these rates between men and woman could lead to costly employment tribunal claims.
The warning comes following the landmark Snell v Network Rail case where Mr Snell was compensated almost £30,000 after his employer offered him statutory paternity pay, while his wife, who also worked at Network Rail, was given full enhanced pay during their shared parental leave.
Michael Shroot, who also heads up the employment law department at Woodcocks Haworth and Nuttall Solicitors, commented: “Employers need to remember that sex discrimination can affect men in the workplace too, and since the introduction of shared parental leave, firms must ensure there’s no discrepancies between maternity and paternity pay, in relation to shared parental leave.
“Although there’s no legal requirement to give financial enhancements to statutory shared parental pay, employers need to treat both new mother and father employees equally. This means employers need to review shared parental pay policies to guarantee equal treatment of their staff by giving either enhanced pay to those on paternity leave too, or by offering statutory pay to both men and women.
“Only by doing this can gender costly discrimination claims and associated employment tribunals be stopped in their tracks.”