In the recent case of An Area Manager v A Transport Company ADJ-0000577, the complainant argued that he was being discriminated against on the grounds of gender as he did not receive the same top-up to his salary whilst on Paternity Leave that a female employee would while on Maternity Leave. The employer paid full salary to women on Maternity Leave.
The employer prior to the introduction of the Paternity Leave and Benefit Act 2016, paid 3 days paid leave for paternity leave. Once the Act was introduced, this scheme was scrapped and employees were informed that they would not be paid and would only receive any social welfare contribution, they were entitled to whilst on Paternity Leave.
The Adjudicator found against the complainant and held that his equation of Paternity Leave with Maternity Leave was misplaced. The Adjudicator held that the special protection that is afforded to women in connection with pregnancy is embedded in both European and Irish law and the respondent was therefore entitled to make special provision for women on Maternity Leave and is protected in that regard by the legislation.The Adjudicator also noted that the respondent could have better dealt with the introduction of paternity pay but that it had since reintroduced the three days paid leave.