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New dad’s historic victory in battle for paternity rights

Published 22 June 2017

A new father threatened with a pay cut if he took paternity leave has won a landmark employment tribunal claim.

Bosses at the call centre where Madassar Ali works reportedly told him that he could only have two weeks off with full pay, women are entitled to 14 weeks (1).

A Leeds employment tribunal found that the employer Capita breached the Equality Act 2010 (2) and regulations on shared parental leave (SPL) (3).

It is thought to be the first time a man has won such a case following the introduction of new laws allowing parents to share pay and leave

Mr Ali wanted the time off to help to care for his baby daughter after his wife suffered post-natal depression (4).

The company argued that he was not entitled to maternity leave because men do not give birth.

The employment judge said Mr Ali had been treated less favourably because he was man. Compensation will be decided at a later date, although it is unclear if Capita will appeal against the decision.

The case should serve as a timely reminder to employers that couples can now share maternity leave entitlement (5) .

New rules on parental leave were introduced April in 2015 (6).

A mother and father, where one of them has been an employee for 26 weeks or more, can take leave in their child's first year at different times, or double up by taking leave at the same time.

Same-sex couples, co-habiting couples, and couples bringing up a child together even if the baby is from a previous relationship can share parental leave.

ACAS have produced a guidance booklet titled: Shared Parental Leave: a good practice guide for employers and employees (7).

Recent research published by a Yorkshire-based law firm (8) found that fewer than one in one thousand employees have taken up SPL since it was first introduced.

Just 54 out of the 56,000 people quizzed had taken up SPL since the family friendly policy was launched just over two years ago. The study found there was either little appetite or knowledge about it.


  1. Rudgard O. Father wins discrimination case against employer for failing to give him full paternity leave. The Telegraph [Internet]. 2017 Jun 11 [cited 2017 Jun 22]; Available from:
  2. Equality Act 2010: guidance - GOV.UK [Internet]. [cited 2017 Jun 22]. Available from:
  3. Shared Parental Leave and Pay - GOV.UK [Internet]. [cited 2017 Jun 22]. Available from:
  4. Choices NHS. Postnatal depression - NHS Choices [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2017 Jun 22]. Available from:
  5. Statutory Maternity Pay and Leave: employer guide: Entitlement - GOV.UK [Internet]. [cited 2017 Jun 22]. Available from:
  6. Peachey K. How the UK’s new rules on parental leave work. BBC News [Internet]. 2015 Apr 5 [cited 2017 Jun 22]; Available from:
  7. Shared Parental Leave and Pay - Advice & Guidance [Internet]. 2014 [cited 2017 Jun 22]. Available from:
  8. Shared Parental Leave - far from child’s play for working dads [Internet]. Milners Law. 2017 [cited 2017 Jun 22]. Available from:

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