Does the shared parental leave scheme discriminate against fathers?
When Baz Price (pictured above) and his wife Laura decided that he should take shared parental leave to look after their baby when she arrived, they discovered that his employer, Powys County Council, only enhanced SPL to the level of statutory maternity pay (currently £151.97 or 90% of average weekly earnings – whichever is lower). Colleagues who took maternity or adoption leave were entitled to full pay for some of their leave.
As a result, Baz was not able to take the time off. He felt so strongly that this was discriminatory against fathers, that he took the gamble of taking legal action against the council – even though he knew this might damage his career irreparably. He sued for sex discrimination and lost – in both his original hearing (in 2019) and later at appeal (in March 2021).
Jeremy Davies spoke to Baz about the case, its impact on his career and family, and his hopes for the future. You can watch/listen to their conversation here.
Price vs Powys County Council (you can read the judge’s findings here) is the latest in a series of legal challenges by fathers to the government’s troubled shared parental leave scheme. Each case has been rejected by the courts. Each reflects the frustration felt by many families who feel stymied by an inflexible and gendered statutory parenting leave system.For a summary of the other key cases, Ali vs Capita Customer Management Ltd and Chief Constable of Leicestershire vs Hextall, click here.
At the Fatherhood Institute we are campaigning for a radically different approach to parenting leave that would give fathers their own, well-paid leave in their baby’s first year. Please support us by joining the #timewithdad project now.