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Bonus payments for night work can be considered sex discrimination

In a recent case (Blackburn et al v Chief Constable of West Midlands Police), it was held that a scheme-awarding bonus for police officers available to work at night was discriminating against women.

The reasoning was that more females have night care responsibility for children than males and therefore it is more difficult for females to comply with long and unsociable hours. It is suggested that by changing the policy to excuse officers with childcare commitments from the requirement to work nights would have lessened the discriminatory impact.

This is particularly relevant since in this particular case the bonus payments did not totally depend on the night work.

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