Plans to Change Family-Friendly Rights

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The new Children and Families Bill was published on 5th February, 2013 introducing among other things shared parental leave whilst abolishing additional paternity leave, extending the right to time off work for antenatal care and extending the right to request flexible working. So what does this actually mean for employers? The changes proposed are that mothers will be able to end their maternity leave early and share what remains of their maternity leave with their partner as parental leave. It will be mandatory for the mother to take two weeks’ maternity leave but the remaining 50 weeks can be shared and the 37 weeks’ remaining pay available to the mother. Expectant fathers will be able to take time off work to accompany their partner to antenatal appointments and any employee will be able to request flexible working whether they have caring responsibilities for children or an adult or not. There will be a requirement for employers to reasonably consider such applications rather than having to follow a laid-down procedure. The Government has stated that it plans to extend the flexible working provision to all employees by 2014 with the introduction of shared parental leave in 2015, together with fathers being able to take time off to attend antenatal appointments. If you fancy reading the Bill, click here.

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