Scottish father wins paternity discrimination claim

Family|October 4th 2016

A Scottish father has been awarded close to £30,000 after he was denied equal paternity pay.

David Snell, from Glasgow, and his wife opted for shared parental leave when their baby was born. As the name suggests, the scheme allows parents to share a year’s worth of leave after the birth of a child. The couple worked for the same employer – infrastructure firm Network Rail.

They informed management of their plans, saying she would take 27 weeks leave and he the subsequent 12 weeks.

When they informed management of their plans, however, they were told that only Mrs Snell would receive full pay for six months, Herald Scotland reports. Mr Snell would receive only statutory pay of under £140 per week. During that time he would also be removed from the company’s pensions scheme he was reportedly told.

He complained, the paper reports, saying:

“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.”

But Network Rail were unpersuaded, insisting that their policy complied with minimum legal requirements. An appeal was equally unsuccessful.

The couple then filed a claim for sexual discrimination at an employment tribunal. This time Network Rail conceded the case, the paper reports, and the Employment Judge awarded the father more than £28,000 in compensation.

Judge Eccles explained:

“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.”

Mr Snell had been so distracted by the case, the Judge added, that he had been unable to properly support his wife when she fell ill.

Image by Tim Watts via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

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