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Employment Tribunal’s decision on whether a man paid less on shared parental leave than a women on statutory adoption leave is sex discrimination

A discrimination claim regarding shared parental leave was recently considered in the Employment Appeal Tribunal in the case of Price v Powys County Council.

In this case the claimant had brought a claim of sex discrimination. The Claimant, Mr Price, had intended to take Statutory Paternity Pay (SPL) so he could stay at home and take care of his baby after his wife had returned to work after two week of compulsory maternity leave. He had asked his employer, the Council, how much he would be paid for the 37 weeks of SPL to which the Council confirmed, Mr Price would be paid Statutory Shared Parental Leave (equal to statutory maternity pay).

Mr Price brought a direct discrimination claim against the Council on the basis that the Council’s family policy stated that employees taking Statutory Maternity Leave (SML) and Statutory Adoption Leave (SAL) were entitled to enhanced maternity and adoption pay.

The Claimant, Mr Price, identified two possible comparators for the purpose of his discrimination claim, one being a female employee receiving SAL and the other being a female employee receiving SML.


The Tribunal held that Mr Price’s position was materially different to both of the comparators.

The Tribunal further held that the correct comparator for Mr Price’s decision would have been a female employee taking SPL and since this comparator would have received the same pay as Mr Price under the Council’s policy, the direct discrimination claim failed.

What this means

The decision provides clarification for employers who operate various enhanced family policies that such policies will not give rise to a successful claim of sex discrimination from an employee who does not benefit the same way via a different policy.

The case further demonstrates that a failure to offer enhances pay during SPL is not technically discriminatory under the Equality Act 2010.

Liliana Armitage

Author Liliana Armitage

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