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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 47914
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Madam, I work NHS in Scotland and a new

Resolved Question:

Dear Sir/Madam,
I work for the NHS in Scotland and a new policy has been brought in called parental leave.
This entitles all parents of children up to the age of 14 of one weeks leave, per year, per child.
If the child has special needs, they are entitled to this up to the age of 18 and if adopted, up to the age of 18 as well.
This appears to be discriminating against childless employees, as we are not entitled to any extra leave, but we were told by HR that it was a nationally agreed policy in partnership with the staff side organisations and which each health board was required to implement.
Do you think I have a case here.
Many thanks
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a solicitor on this site and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.
Unfortunately this would not be viewed as discrimination from a legal perspective. For discrimination to occur, you must be treated detrimentally because of your age, gender, race, religion, disability, pregnancy, marriage. Introducing a policy where employees with children get extra leave does not mean that you are being discriminated on any of the above grounds. In fact the law already provides additional leave for parents and that is not discriminatory in itself even if it means that childless employees do not get that privilege. It is like claiming that new mothers get preferential treatment because they get maternity leave,. Which is obviously not the case. So even though it may seem unfair, the policy is not discriminatory or unlawful. It does not stop you from challenging it and raising a complaint with the employer where you may argue that they should consider similar benefits for all employees but there are no legal grounds to request that and it is just going to be a personal preference that you base your complaint on.
I'm sorry if this is not necessarily the answer you were hoping for, however I do have a duty to be honest and explain the law as it actually stands. This does mean delivering bad news from time to time. I hope you understand and would be happy to provide any further clarification if needed. If you are still satisfied with the level of service you have received I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page. Thank you
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