Government Publishes Children and Families Bill

The Government has recently published the Children and Families Bill which aims to address issues surrounding shared parental leave and pay as well as the right to request more flexible working hours for all parents or carers in employment.

While exact details of how the shared parental leave and pay scheme will work and the criteria to establish whether you will be eligible are yet to be disclosed, what does seem clear is that women will retain their entitlement to maternity leave and statutory maternity pay.  In addition they will also be given the option of ending their leave and pay early in order to share it with their partner provided the two periods are taken consecutively.  The guidelines will also apply to eligible adopters, and will extend to prospective parents in the fostering-to-adopt system.

The Bill will introduce a new right for employees and agency workers in ‘qualifying relationships’ to take unpaid time off work to enable them to attend up to two ante-natal appointments with a pregnant woman for a maximum period of six-and-a-half-hours per session.  Unpaid time off work is also available for people who are going through the process of adopting a child to attend meetings in advance of a child being placed with them for adoption.

The proposed new rules would extend the right for employees to request flexible working hours for parents and carers. Employers will be required to deal with applications for flexible working hours in a reasonable manner and will be required to notify the employee of its decision within three months of the employee’s application.

For advice on the likely effects that the Children and Families Bill could have on your business, please contact our Employment law team or call 01254 222399.

This entry was posted in Employment Law.