New Parental Leave And Flexible Working Announcements

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New Parental Leave And Flexible Working Announcements

  1. 1. New parental leave and flexible working announcementsAfter days of speculation in the media and, in a bid to “to achieve fully shared childcare fromday one” of a child’s life, the Government has today, Tuesday 13th November 2012,announced its intentions for changing parental leave and the right to request flexible working.In summary, the changes are:  After an initial two weeks’ compulsory maternity leave taken by the mother, eligible parents will be able to convert the remaining maternity leave and pay into ‘flexible parental leave’ and pay and share it between them – taking it in turns or taking time off together.  Flexible parental leave will be subject to a limit of 50 weeks’ leave in total and 37 weeks’ statutory pay.  Adopters will have the same rights as other parents to maternity leave and pay: they will no longer be required to complete 26 weeks’ employment and adoption pay will be the same as maternity pay. Where eligible, they will also be able to take flexible parental leave.  Fathers and partners of pregnant women will be given a right to take unpaid leave to attend two antenatal appointments.  Paternity leave will remain at two weeks but will be reviewed in 2018.  Surrogate parents who meet the criteria to apply for a Parental Order will be eligible for statutory adoption pay and leave and flexible parental leave, providing they meet the qualifying conditions.  All workers with qualifying service will have the right to request flexible working, but an employer retains the right to refuse on the existing statutory grounds.  The intention is to introduce the flexible working changes in 2014 at the earliest and the new flexible parental leave from 2015.Flexible working for all employeesCurrently, there is a right to request a change in hours and place of work if the requestrelates to a child under 17 years old (or 18 if the child is disabled), or, a person aged 18 orover in need of care. It is subject to 26 weeks’ continuous employment and other conditions.While the 26 weeks’ qualifying service is retained, the Government will replace the currentstatutory procedure, through which employers consider flexible working requests, with a dutyon employers to deal with requests in a reasonable manner, and within a ‘reasonable’ periodof time. A statutory Acas Code of Practice will be written to give guidance as to the meaningof ‘reasonable’ to employers and there will be additional Acas guidance for employers on howto prioritise conflicting requests received at the same time.Let’s talk….If you’d like an informal chat for general HR pointers or if you’re looking for a confidentialconversation about some HR issues contact me on 07714 218915 or email at mat@blackinkhr.com © Black Ink HR 2012
  2. 2. New flexible parental leaveTo qualify for statutory flexible parental leave, the Government plans to mirror the currentqualifying criteria for ordinary paternity leave: an employee must have been employed by thesame employer for 26 weeks by the 15th week before the baby’s due date.Under the new system for flexible parental leave, a qualifying woman would be able to shareher untaken maternity leave and pay or allowance as flexible parental leave and pay with herqualifying partner. The length of flexible parental leave available would be equal to theuntaken balance of maternity leave. The amount of flexible parental pay available to theparents cannot exceed the balance of untaken statutory maternity pay or maternityallowance.Unlike the current arrangements for additional paternity leave, a woman ending hermaternity leave will not have to return to work in order for the remaining leave to becomeflexible parental leave. The mother will be able to notify the date on which she plans to endmaternity leave in advance, and the balance can become available immediately. Her partnerwill be able to start taking flexible parental leave (with the necessary notification period)whilst the mother is still on maternity leave. This will enable parents to take the flexibleparental leave concurrently.The intention is for flexible parental leave to be taken in a minimum of one-week blocks. Theparents can decide between them how much of the leave each of them will take. As for thepattern of taking leave, if either of the parents does not intend to take their allocation in asingle block, then they will need to agree the leave pattern with their individual employer. Inthe event that the pattern could not be agreed, the leave would default to a single block tocommence on a date specified by the employee.EU parental leaveIn addition, from March 2013, the Government will increase unpaid parental leave from 13 to18 weeks in order to comply with the revised EU Parental Leave Directive. In 2015, it willincrease the age limit on parental leave from the current 5 years to 18 years, providing eachparent the right to up to 18 week’s unpaid parental leave for each child under 18.DisclaimerThis information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal adviceLet’s talk….If you’d like an informal chat for general HR pointers or if you’re looking for a confidentialconversation about some HR issues contact me on 07714 218915 or email at mat@blackinkhr.com © Black Ink HR 2012

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