Law guide: Employment

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Protection against detriment or dismissal

Protection against detriment or dismissal

Detrimental treatment and paternity leave

You mustn't subject an employee to any detriment by acting (or deliberately not acting), because they took, sought to take or made use of the benefits.

Examples of detrimental treatment include denying them a promotion, facilities or training opportunities that normally would have been available to them.

Dismissal and shared parental leave

You mustn't dismiss an employee or make them redundant because they took or wanted to take SPL, or made use of its benefits. You can't stop the employee returning to work after their SPL ends.

In addition, you shouldn't dismiss an employee if they took a 'keeping in touch' day, or considered taking or refusing it.

Redundancy during shared parental leave

If a redundancy situation arises at any stage during an employee's SPL, they will have some protection. If the employee is at risk of being made redundant and a suitable alternative vacancy exists, you must offer it to them before their contract ends. This includes a vacancy with an associated employer or with a successor to the original employer.

The new job must start immediately after the end of the original one and must:

  • be suitable and appropriate for them to do; and
  • have terms and conditions that are not substantially less favourable.

This requirement takes precedence over the general requirement to offer suitable alternative positions to other employees at risk of redundancy, i.e. an employee on shared parental leave will have priority over others to be offered a suitable alternative vacancy.

New laws expected to be in force from 6 April 2024 will extend this redundancy protection for employees in England, Wales and Scotland who start SPL on or after that date. Their right to be offered a suitable alternative vacancy will apply until 18 months after the child's date or birth or adoption placement. This is provided that the employee:

  • takes 6 or more consecutive weeks of SPL, and
  • does not take any maternity or adoption leave.

Further information

See the BEIS guide 'Employers technical guide to shared parental leave and pay' (PDF) for more information.

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