Victory day for maternity row mother

A woman who took the supermarket giant Tesco to an industrial tribunal after it refused to give her maternity pay, won a partial victory yesterday. Deborah Banks claimed Tesco acted unlawfully in denying her maternity pay when she left her job at the firm's store in Gillingham, Kent to have her second baby in 1995.

Tesco refused her maternity pay, saying she was not earning enough to qualify for the statutory scheme. Mrs Banks, 28, was paid pounds 56 a week while the threshold for statutory maternity pay was just pounds 1 more. At the tribunal Mrs Banks said a man could claim paternity pay regardless of his earnings while she was denied maternity pay. Her lawyers claimed this amounted to discrimination. The tribunal panel yesterday accepted that Tesco was wrong to pay fathers and adoptive parents money while mothers were refused maternity pay. Mrs Banks will now be granted the financial equivalent of one day's leave that men working for Tesco are allowed as paternity leave. Matthew Brace