Even More Flexibility?

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Under plans announced by Nick Clegg, new mothers will be able to return to work two weeks after childbirth and have the opportunity of sharing the rest of their maternity leave with their partner.

It is proposed that from 2015 England, Scotland and Wales will provide a fully-flexible system of parental leave.  It is stated that this will give women a clearer route back to work as announced.  In addition, parents will be able to take time off together and have a legal right to request flexible working. 

This may cause problems for employers. As yet more complexity enters the flexible working arrangement, it may enable employers to keep talented individuals within the workplace, but the administration of the system may cause significant difficulties.  As things stand, employers must seriously consider a request for flexible working that is made under the present legislation although they do have the right to refuse a request if there are sound business reasons.  The main concern from the Federation of British Industry seems to be whether the new rights will give rise to legal action from fathers that mirror those presently available to mothers under the existing scheme.

What is clear is that the present system, which restricts the ability to apply for flexible working to those people with children, or who have caring responsibilities, will now appear to be extended across all employees.  We watch with interest as to how this develops.

This entry was posted in Employment Law.

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