Maternity / Paternity
In early 2014, shared parental leave was introduced whereby the parents can share the mother’s maternity leave between them. As a result the rules around maternity and paternity leave and pay have become complex. Many employers struggle to understand their obligations and the employees rights so it is no wonder employees are unsure of what they need to do and by when to entitle them to exercise those rights.
Mothers must take their compulsory maternity leave of two weeks (4 weeks for factory workers). Fathers still get the right to paternity leave of two weeks if they meet the qualifying requirements. Mothers can take 12 months maternity leave if they wish and be paid statutory maternity pay for 9 months subject to the qualifying requirements. Parents can also now share that leave between them in continuous or discontinuous leave blocks. There are complex requirements for providing your employer with notices at set times in the pregnancy. The law has also become more complex as it adapts to the changes in modern family life. Employees can also take adoption leave and same sex couples have similar rights as well as more recent changes for surrogates and those expecting a baby through surrogacy.
In addition to these rights, there are a wealth of other rights to time off for family reasons. Parents can take parental leave and time off for dependants. Flexible working is also more likely to be required for those with families although in more recent years the right to request flexible working has been extended to all who qualify and it is no longer just those with children or caring responsibilities.
So if you are expecting a baby or believe that you will require some family friendly time off work why not book a fixed fee appointment to take advice on your rights, what will suit your family, what the qualifying criteria are and what you must do when. I also advise employees who have been discriminated against whilst on maternity/paternity or family leave or who have been dismissed or subject to a detriment for exercising their rights. If you are concerned this may apply to you then you should seek advice as soon as possible. As with most employment law claims, they are subject to strict time limits on taking action against your employer.
For further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.