Call us on:  0808 172 93 22

The Children and Families Bill Update

15820308_s

SUMMARY:  The Children and Families Bill 2012-13 (the Bill) is currently being reviewed by Parliament. The first reading took place at the House of Commons on 4 February 2013; there was no debate on the Bill at that stage.

The Bill seeks to implement:

- a new system of shared parental leave and pay;

- time off for fathers of expected children to attend ante-natal and adoption appointments; and

- an extension of the right to request flexible working to all employees.

—————

Shared Parental Leave and Pay

The full details of how this will work including the eligibility conditions for mothers and their partners, are not yet finalised. What is known is that under the proposed new scheme, eligible employees would:

Fathers would still be able to take ordinary paternity leave on the basis that they are not also on shared parental leave. Additional paternity leave and additional statutory paternity pay would be abolished. Eligible adopters would also be able to benefit from the new shared parental leave scheme.

Time Off to Attend Appointments

(i)                  Ante-natal

Under the proposed new scheme, eligible employees would be able to take unpaid time off work to attend up to two ante-natal appointments to accompany the mother for a maximum of six and a half hours for each appointment. Employees may be required to provide a declaration to their employer confirming that they are attending the appointment and that they have a “qualifying relationship” with a pregnant woman or her expected child.

Where eligible employees are denied this right, they may lodge a claim with an employment tribunal. The proposed remedy is compensation amounting to twice their hourly salary for each hour for which they would have been absent.

(ii)                 Adoption

Eligible employees would also be entitled to take paid time off work to attend appointments arranged by an adoption agency before the placement of a child. The appointment must be no longer than six and a half hours. Single adopters may take up to five appointments for which they are entitled to be paid; where there are two adopters, the second adopter may take up to two unpaid appointments.

Right to Request Flexible Working

Under the proposed new legislation, all employees with 26 weeks’ service or more would have the right to request flexible working. Instead of the current statutory scheme, employers will be able to follow their own HR procedures when considering requests subject to:

An employee would be able to bring a claim in the employment tribunal should the employer wrongly treat the request as withdrawn or if the employer’s decision is not made in time.

What this means for Employers?

Currently, there is no requirement for employers to change any of their family friendly policies or procedures. However, it appears inevitable that some, if not all, of these proposals will in due course become part of UK employment law.  If this is the case, your family friendly policies and practices will need to be amended accordingly. We will be able to assist with any questions that you have in relation to these new family friendly provisions as well as a facility to provide any training that you or your staff may require going forward.

Rachael Jessop, Solicitor.

Contact Information

fgmedia@floydgraham.co.uk

+44 (0) 1604 871143

This update is for general guidance only and does not constitute definitive advice.

Updated: by FG Solicitors
Call us on:  0808 172 93 22

THE CHILDREN AND FAMILIES BILL UPDATE

15820308_s

SUMMARY:  The Children and Families Bill 2012-13 (the Bill) is currently being reviewed by Parliament. The first reading took place at the House of Commons on 4 February 2013; there was no debate on the Bill at that stage.

The Bill seeks to implement:

- a new system of shared parental leave and pay;

- time off for fathers of expected children to attend ante-natal and adoption appointments; and

- an extension of the right to request flexible working to all employees.

—————

Shared Parental Leave and Pay

The full details of how this will work including the eligibility conditions for mothers and their partners, are not yet finalised. What is known is that under the proposed new scheme, eligible employees would:

  • continue to be entitled to a maximum of 52 weeks’ leave and 39 weeks’ statutory pay. All this leave, except the first two weeks (compulsory maternity leave for the mother) will be available for sharing; and
  • enjoy similar protection afforded to women on statutory maternity leave for example, entitlement to contractual terms (except pay) and contractual benefits (such as accrual of holiday).

Fathers would still be able to take ordinary paternity leave on the basis that they are not also on shared parental leave. Additional paternity leave and additional statutory paternity pay would be abolished. Eligible adopters would also be able to benefit from the new shared parental leave scheme.

Time Off to Attend Appointments

(i)                  Ante-natal

Under the proposed new scheme, eligible employees would be able to take unpaid time off work to attend up to two ante-natal appointments to accompany the mother for a maximum of six and a half hours for each appointment. Employees may be required to provide a declaration to their employer confirming that they are attending the appointment and that they have a “qualifying relationship” with a pregnant woman or her expected child.

Where eligible employees are denied this right, they may lodge a claim with an employment tribunal. The proposed remedy is compensation amounting to twice their hourly salary for each hour for which they would have been absent.

(ii)                 Adoption

Eligible employees would also be entitled to take paid time off work to attend appointments arranged by an adoption agency before the placement of a child. The appointment must be no longer than six and a half hours. Single adopters may take up to five appointments for which they are entitled to be paid; where there are two adopters, the second adopter may take up to two unpaid appointments.

Right to Request Flexible Working

Under the proposed new legislation, all employees with 26 weeks’ service or more would have the right to request flexible working. Instead of the current statutory scheme, employers will be able to follow their own HR procedures when considering requests subject to:

  • notifying the employee of its decision within three months, unless an extension is agreed; and
  • the right to consider an application withdrawn should an employee, without good reason, fail to attend either two consecutive meetings to discuss the request or an appeal.

An employee would be able to bring a claim in the employment tribunal should the employer wrongly treat the request as withdrawn or if the employer’s decision is not made in time.

What this means for Employers?

Currently, there is no requirement for employers to change any of their family friendly policies or procedures. However, it appears inevitable that some, if not all, of these proposals will in due course become part of UK employment law.  If this is the case, your family friendly policies and practices will need to be amended accordingly. We will be able to assist with any questions that you have in relation to these new family friendly provisions as well as a facility to provide any training that you or your staff may require going forward.

Rachael Jessop, Solicitor.

Contact Information

fgmedia@floydgraham.co.uk

+44 (0) 1604 871143

This update is for general guidance only and does not constitute definitive advice.