Entitled to parental leave
Rodway v New Southern Railways Limited, Court of Appeal,
18 April 2005
Rodway needed a day off to look after his son, but his request for one day’s parental leave was refused, as his job could not be covered. He did not turn up for work and was given a formal warning for non-attendance. He brought a complaint, claiming he had been subjected to a detriment for a reason prescribed by the Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations 1999, contrary to Section 47(c) of the Employment Rights Act 1996.
The issue was whether Rodway was entitled to take just one day’s parental leave (as parents of a disabled child could), or whether the leave could only be taken for one week at a time or in blocks of one week as provided for by Schedule 2 of the regulations.
The tribunal held that Rodway could take one day’s parental leave, but that it would count as one week of the annual entitlement of four weeks. Consequently, he had been subjected to a detriment in not being allowed to take a day off.
New Southern Railways successfully appealed to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT), which held that as Rodway was not the parent of a disabled child, he could not take parental leave for one day only. The disciplinary action was lawful, and he had suffered no detriment.
Rodway’s appeal was dismissed. Unless separate arrangements have been made for parental leave, either as part of the contract of employment or collective agreement, the provisions of Schedule 2 apply, and accordingly, parental leave can only be taken in blocks of one week.