Rodway v South Central Trains, EAT, 3 August 2004

Beware one day’s parental leave: Mr Rodway tried to take a day off work to look after his son. He applied for annual and parental leave for the day in question. He was told that he could not take the day off as parental leave as his job could not be covered.

Rodway did not turn up for work that day, and received a warning for non-attendance. He complained to a tribunal, claiming that he had been subjected to a detriment for a reason prescribed by the Maternity and Parental Leave, etc, Regulations 1999, because he had tried to take parental leave.

The tribunal held that he’d been subjected to a detriment in not being allowed to take one day off. But the employer successfully appealed.

The Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) held that the regulations did not allow parental leave to be taken for one day only. The minimum period of parental leave was the period that constituted a week’s leave, although this was not the case for an employee with a disabled child. As the employee could not lawfully take a day off for parental leave, the subsequent disciplinary action was lawful, and therefore there was no detriment.

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