Employers may face arguments that an employee dismissed while on parental leave must always be paid full salary in respect of their notice period.
The ECJ has ruled that EU law requires an employee dismissed without notice during parental leave to receive notice pay based on full salary and not any reduced parental leave salary.
UK law does not require an employee to be paid full salary notice if dismissed while on parental (or other family) leave if the employee's contractual notice period is at least one week more than their statutory entitlement. Employees are not entitled to "remuneration" during such leave and, in our view, salary during or in respect of notice does fall within "remuneration". However, there are arguments to the contrary and this decision may well fuel a future challenge, particularly in respect of public sector employers but potentially also private sector ones. (Meerts v Proost NV, ECJ)
Parental leave is likely to be extended from 3 to 4 months by 2012, following the EU Council's approval of proposals to revise the Parental Leave Directive. There is also pressure from MEPs to introduce a right to 4 months' paid non-transferable paternity leave.