Surprise Ruling in Ali v Capita Customer Management
- Date: Friday 20th April 2018
Mr. and Mrs. Ali are employed by the same organisation. Following the birth of their child, Mrs Ali was entitled to 14 weeks fully paid maternity pay, followed by 38 weeks statutory leave. Mrs Ali suffered from postnatal depression and was advised to return to work as soon as possible.
Under the company’s policy, Mr Ali was entitled to 2 weeks paid paternity pay only. He could have opted for shared parental leave, but payments under this would have been below the family’s usual income. Mr Ali claimed sex discrimination and argued that increased maternity leave payments should also be awarded to the father. He won his claim at an Employment Tribunal last year.
The Employment Appeals Tribunal disagreed. The judge in this case held that the employment tribunal had failed to consider the purpose of paid maternity leave in its decision and determined that it was not discriminatory to refuse the father the same rights as a new mother after the birth of a child.
The purpose of maternity pay and leave is to recognise the “health and wellbeing of a woman in pregnancy, confinement and after recent childbirth”. Therefore, a claim made by a man would be based on the provision of childcare, not personal wellbeing.
What this mean for employers
It’s worth remembering that caselaw in this area is still limited and we can’t predict what courts will decide in future claim proceedings. However, for now the pressure seems to be off employers and enhanced maternity pay can be maintained as before.
Source: Manuela Grossmann, SSG