Shared parental leave and extension to flexible working

The Government has published more information about its plans for shared parental leave and extending the right to flexible working.

It says that under the new system:

  • Employed mothers will still be entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave as a day one right
  • Mothers can choose to end their maternity leave after the initial two-week recovery period; working parents can then decide how they want to share the remaining leave
  • Fathers will gain a new right to take unpaid leave to attend two antenatal appointments
  • There will be new statutory payment for parents on shared parental leave with the same qualifying requirements that currently apply to statutory maternity and paternity pay
  • Those who have adopted a child will be entitled to the same pay and leave as birth parents.

The reforms are part of the Children and Families Bill, which was published on 5 February.

The Government also wants to extend the right to request flexible working to all employees – not just parents and carers. Under the reforms, the current statutory procedure for considering requests will be removed. Instead, employers will be required to consider all requests in a reasonable manner. 

Business Minister Jo Swinson said: “Employers will soon get used to more men taking time off after their child is born and more mothers returning to work earlier, shattering the perception that it is mainly a woman’s role to stay at home and look after the child.

“These measures will really help our aim of ensuring more businesses are making best use of women’s talents throughout the organisation, from the boardroom to the shop floor.”

Please contact Paul Stevens on 020 8290 7422 for more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.

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