In Price v Powys County Council, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) held that an employment tribunal was entitled to reject a male employee’s sex discrimination claim against an employer that enhances adoption pay but not shared parental pay.
When the Claimant and his wife found out that they were to have their first child, they decided together that the Claimant would stay at home to care for the baby while his wife returned to work. The Respondent’s Policy on Shared Parental Leave provided for those taking such leave to receive an amount equivalent to statutory maternity pay, whereas those on Adoption Leave were entitled to full pay. The Claimant compared his position to that of a female employee on Adoption Leave and contended that the Respondent’s Policy gave rise to direct discrimination.
The claimant’s proposition that the predominant purpose of adoption leave is to facilitate childcare was not accepted. A child’s welfare lies at the heart of adoption law and the purpose of adoption leave included forming a parental bond, becoming a family and taking steps to prepare and maintain an appropriate and safe environment for an adopted child, who might be older and more independent than an infant. Adoption leave can start before a child’s placement, which indicates that leave is not simply about childcare. Although parents can choose who will take adoption leave, that is a different choice from the one made by parents accessing shared parental leave. The ET dismissed the claim.
This provides summary information and comment on the subject areas covered. Where employment tribunal and appellate court cases are reported, the information does not set out all of the facts, the legal arguments presented and the judgments made in every aspect of the case. Employment law is subject to constant change either by statute or by interpretation by the courts. While every care has been taken in compiling this information, we cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. Specialist legal advice must be taken on any legal issues that may arise before embarking upon any formal course of action.