Working Families’ response to Ali vs Capita Customer Management EAT decision
Published: 11 Apr 2018
Responding to today’s decision from the Employment Appeal Tribunal in the case of Ali vs Capita Customer Management (UKEAT/0161/17/BA), Working Families  Chief Executive Sarah Jackson said:
“Today’s decision is an important safeguard for the special employment protection needed for pregnant women and new mothers. We intervened in this case because the particular workplace disadvantage women face having experienced pregnancy and childbirth must continue to be recognised in law. Only women can experience childbirth, and maternity leave is to protect women’s health and wellbeing – it cannot simply be equated with “childcare”.
“We have long called for greater rights and pay for working fathers, including properly paid, standalone period of extended paternity leave for fathers; but these should complement, not undermine, the rights of working mothers. This is a not a zero-sum game.
“We encourage all our employer members to match Shared Parental Pay to enhanced maternity pay, because well paid leave is vital if we are to see more fathers take up their rights, and ultimately to improve equality at work and at home.”
Note to editor
 Working Families is the UK’s work life balance charity. We provide free legal employment advice to parents and work with employers to make our vision of family friendly workplaces a reality. We intervened in this case because of the wider public policy implications of the decision. Our submission focused on the strong protections needed for pregnant women and those who have recently given birth, beyond the two weeks of compulsory maternity leave. The Equality and Human Rights Commission found that 54,000 women a year in the UK lose their jobs as a result of pregnancy and maternity.
 The Employment Appeal Tribunal set aside the Tribunal finding that Mr Ali had been directly discriminated against by his employer when he did not receive enhanced Shared Parental Pay in the same way that a comparator woman on Maternity Leave received enhanced pay. The judge decided the Tribunal had failed to consider the different purposes of Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Maternity Leave. The judgment confirms that the purpose of SPL (to care for a child) is different from the purpose of maternity leave (which is to support the health and wellbeing of a mother before, during and after childbirth) and the entitlement of pay is inseparable from the type of leave taken.