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Police officer who claimed sex discrimination over ‘London allowance’ during maternity pay wins appeal

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton

In the case of Geldart v City of London Police a serving constable went on maternity leave and during that period she received, in accordance with her terms of service, “Police Occupational Maternity Pay” (“OMP”) equivalent to eighteen weeks’ pay. Thereafter she received a further sixteen weeks’ statutory maternity pay.

The claim concerns an element in Geldart’s remuneration called “London Allowance” (not to be confused with “London Weighting”). It is her case that she was entitled to receive London Allowance in full during her absence on maternity leave. The Commissioner believed that she was only entitled to receive it to the same extent that she was entitled to OMP, and she was accordingly paid it in respect only of eighteen weeks. The total amount of her claim is £1,941.60, representing 23 weeks’ unpaid allowance.

The Employment Tribunal sided with Ms Geldart. It found on an examination of the Regulations concerning police pay that the London Allowance element was something that she was entitled to in full for the period on maternity. She was awarded damages of £4,00.00 in addition to the unpaid element of the allowance. The police force appealed the decision.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal upheld the tribunal’s decision finding that the failure to make the payment was direct sex discrimination under section 13 of the Equality Act 2010. There was no provision in the Police Regulations preventing the London Allowance being payable during maternity leave.

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