Law guide: Workplace

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Protection against detriment or dismissal

Protection against detriment or dismissal

Detrimental treatment and shared parental leave

An employer must not subject you to any detriment by acting or deliberately not acting, because you took or wanted to take shared parental leave (SPL), or made use of its benefits.

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

If you believe you've suffered detrimental treatment under these circumstances, you should raise a grievance with your employer.

Dismissal and shared parental leave

You shouldn't be dismissed or made redundant because you took or wanted to take SPL, or made use of its benefits. Your employer can't stop you returning to work after your SPL ends.

In addition, you shouldn't be dismissed if you took a KIT day, or considered taking or refusing it.

If you're dismissed by your employer in these circumstances, you should make a complaint of unfair dismissal to an Employment Tribunal (or Industrial Tribunal in Northern Ireland), regardless of your length of service.

Redundancy during shared parental leave

If a redundancy situation arises at any stage during your SPL, you will have some protection. If you're at risk of being made redundant and a suitable alternative vacancy exists, your employer must offer it to you before your 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 you 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.

If you work in England, Wales or Scotland, new laws expected to be in force from 6 April 2024 will extend this redundancy protection if you start SPL on or after that date. Your right to be offered a suitable alternative vacancy will apply until 18 months after the child's date or birth or adoption placement. This only applies if you:

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

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