Two policewomen should have been entitled to special payments given to frontline officers, the Court of Appeal has heard.
Susan Blackburn and Victoria Manley, both mothers, are claiming that the special condition for the payment – working 24/7 shift patterns – means male colleagues earn more than them.
They say they cannot work night shifts because they have childcare responsibilities and denying them the payments is unlawful under the Equal Pay Act.
Robin Allen QC, representing the pair, told a panel of three appeal judges that the Special Priority Payments (SPP) were authorised by the Home Office as a supplement to standard police pay.
Under an original West Midlands Police scheme to introduce the payments, the women would have been included.
But this would have meant that more officers would be entitled to the payments than the 30 per cent limit and permission to increase the number was turned down by the Home Office.
The police force then brought in the rule that SPP would only go to officers who worked a 24/7 shift pattern.
An employment tribunal ruled in 2006 that because they had children to look after they could not work night shifts but it was not their choice.
The tribunal said they were entitled to the payments.
But an employment appeal tribunal (EAT) held that the approach of the chief constable to single out and reward those working nights could not be achieved if those who did not were paid the same amounts.
The judges reserved their ruling.