Working Families’ Response to the Court of Appeal’s Decision on Ali and Hextall
Published: 24 May 2019
The Court of Appeal’s ruling on 24 May 2019 concerns two different cases that were listed together. The Court of Appeal overturned the Employment Appeal Tribunal’s (EAT’s) previous decision in Hextall vs. Chief Constable Leicestershire Police, but upheld the EAT’s decision in Capita Customer Management vs. Ali and asserted that pregnant women and new mothers on maternity leave cannot be compared with men on Shared Parental Leave.
Responding to the decision, Working Families Chief Executive Jane van Zyl said:
“Working Families’ intervention in these cases reflects our concern that a ruling of sex discrimination would have undermined the essential protection afforded to women on maternity leave, and could have resulted in employers reducing maternity pay. The distinct disadvantage that women face in the workplace having experienced pregnancy and childbirth must continue to be recognised in law. Because maternity leave is designed to protect women’s health and wellbeing, it cannot simply be equated with ‘childcare’.
“Well-paid leave is vital if we are to improve equality at work and at home, and see more fathers take up their rights. Working Families has long called for employers that can afford to do so to go beyond the minimum pay for Shared Parental Leave, to encourage fathers in particular to use it. In addition, we continue to advocate for a properly-paid, standalone period of extended paternity leave for fathers. These steps would allow fathers be more involved in their children’s lives and help challenge gendered ideas around who works and who cares. Measures like these should complement, not threaten, the rights of working mothers.”