There are various different rights employees have, so to support their family. If an employer does not allow an employee to exercise those rights then claims can arise, sometimes even for discrimination. We can advise you further if you feel that your employer is not meeting their obligations to you.
A quick summary of the family friendly rights is:
Maternity Leave (similar for adoption) – this is available to all pregnant employees who are entitled to 26 weeks’ ordinary maternity leave (OLM) and 26 weeks’ additional maternity leave (AML) (52 weeks in total). There are notification rules. Your pay, benefits and right to return to work differ after OML and AML. You can find more information on SMP here.
Paternity Leave – eligible employees are entitled to take either one week or two consecutive weeks’ ordinary paternity leave (OPL) within 56 days of a child’s birth or placement for adoption.
Shared Parental Leave – this allows parents (and adoptive parents) to share the maternity leave and pay (or primary adopter’s leave and pay). Eligibility and procedural requirements can make this complicated.
Flexible Working – all employees with over 26 weeks ‘continuous service can apply for this following a set procedure. It usually involves requests for changes to the employee’s hours of work, times of work or location of work. The most common being part-time working, flexi-time, home-working and job sharing. Employers can refuse a request on eight prescribed grounds, including the burden of costs and the detrimental impact it might have on quality, performance or meeting customer demands.
Parental Leave –rarely used due to it being unpaid. This leave is available for up to 18 weeks for those who have or expect to have parental responsibility for a child (up to 18).
Time Off For Dependants – an often misunderstood right. A reasonable amount of unpaid time off to take action where something unexpectedly arises with their dependants. This includes a spouse, child or parent, or person living in the same household (but not employee, tenant or lodger). The aim is to given employees time to put arrangements into place. It is not intended, for example, to provide ongoing time off for personal care of a sick dependant, at some point parental leave would be the appropriate choice.
What Next? How Can We Help You?
If you want to know more, or need support enforcing any of your rights, please get in touch and your employment solicitor can help further. This might include applying for flexible working. We work with employees from around Guildford, Godalming, Woking & the South East. Please do get in touch.
You might find the following ACAS resources helpful in the meantime:
Shared parental leave : The ACAS Guide
If you are an employer, these resources are also helpful. More information can also be found here.