Female EU Citizens can retain ‘Worker’ status for pregnancy-related reasons for 52 weeks

Monday 21 September 2015

Upper Tribunal rules on the scope of Saint Prix C-507/12. The three claimants were represented by Adrian Berry and Desmond Rutledge of Garden Court Chambers’ Welfare Benefits Law team.

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In SSWP v SFF and Others [2015] UKUT 502 (AAC) (10 September 2015), the Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber) considered the scope of Saint Prix C-507/12. The decision involves three linked appeals involving claims for income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit by female EU citizens who left the labour force for maternity reasons but who were not on maternity leave pursuant to a contract with an existing employer. Judge Ward considered the following issues:

  1. What is the nature of the Saint Prix right? Is it to be assessed prospectively or retrospectively?
  2. To whom are Saint Prix rights available?
  3. When does the Saint Prix right start?
  4. How long does the reasonable period last?
  5. Does a woman have to return to work (or find another job) or will a return to job seeking suffice?
  6. Can a Saint Prix right count towards permanent residence?

Judge Ward held that the length of the ‘reasonable period’ is 52 weeks (subject to individual circumstances) rather than the 26 weeks proposed by the Secretary of State. This effectively overturns the DWP’s current guidance in Memo DMG 25/14, which was issued in October 2014.

More information can be found in the full judgment – SSWP v SFF, ADR v SSWP, CS v LB Barnet & SSWP [2015] UKUT 502 (AAC).

For further analysis, see Adrian Berry’s blog post: UK: Female EU citizens retain ‘Worker’ status for a year when off work for pregnancy/maternity-related reasons.

The three claimants were represented by Adrian Berry and Desmond Rutledge of Garden Court Chambers’ Welfare Benefits Law team, instructed by Jacobo Borrero at Hansen Palomares, Mike Spencer at Child Poverty Action Group and William Ford at Osbornes Solicitors LLP, respectively.

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