If you enhance maternity pay must you enhance shared parental pay?
The Court of Appeal said no in the latest instalment of Ali v Capita Customer Management Ltd; Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police v Hextall. When on paternity leave, Mr Ali was entitled to two weeks' full pay from Capita. Female employees could get 14 weeks' enhanced maternity pay. Mr Ali was eligible for shared parental leave, but he would only be paid at the statutory shared parental pay rate. Mr Ali clamed sex discrimination.
The Court of Appeal disagreed because 'the entire period of maternity leave following childbirth, and not just the first two weeks of maternity leave, is for more than just facilitating childcare'. It helps new mothers recover from the physical and psychological effects of pregnancy and giving birth. The proper comparator was a female employee on shared parental leave. That woman would be treated the same as Mr Ali.
Does this close the issue?
Not quite. This decision reduces the risk of successful claims of sex discrimination or equal pay if you pay enhanced maternity pay but pay shared parental leave at the statutory minimum. However, this is the third decision so don't rule out the possibility of an appeal to the Supreme Court.