• Robert Spicer

Sex discrimination and maternity pay

SEX DISCRIMINATION

Maternity leave and pay

In the case of Commissioner of the City of London Police v Geldart, the Court of Appeal gave guidance on rights to pay during maternity leave.

Ms G is a police officer. Part of her pay is a London Allowance. When Ms G took maternity leave she was paid the London Allowance. When she moved to statutory maternity pay the Allowance was no longer paid. Ms G claimed that she was entitled to be paid the Allowance for the whole of her maternity leave. She claimed that the failure to pay the allowance was direct and indirect sex discrimination.

The employment tribunal found that the failure to pay the Allowance was direct sex discrimination. Ms G was treated as she was because she was on maternity leave and therefore the treatment was because of sex. The EAT dismissed the employer’s appeal. The employer appealed to the Court of Appeal.

The appeal was allowed in part.

* The reason why Ms G had not been paid the Allowance was absence from work. The reason for the absence was immaterial. The Allowance was only payable if an employee was ready and willing to work.

* Women are not required to receive full pay during maternity leave. It is plainly not sex discrimination not to pay a female employee who is absent on maternity leave more than the amount of maternity pay which she is entitled to receive during the prescribed period nor, if she remains absent beyond that period, not to pay her at all.

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