Family Friendly Rights – Change May Be Coming
The government is consulting on ways to provide families with more support and flexibility. These proposals could have a significant impact on the way employers have to budget for parental and family leave.
In order to address gender divisions, the government is asking whether it is more beneficial to new parents to:
Increase the amount of pay and/or leave that can be taken
Be able to take leave flexibly and not in the six months following birth
There is also an emphasis on encouraging fathers to take both paternity leave (for new babies) and parental leave (which can be used for a child up to 18).
This proposal is concerned with babies who are born prematurely, or babies who are born full-term, but require specialist care.
The government suggests that one week’s leave should be granted for each week that the baby requires neonatal care, which would be tacked onto the end of the parent’s maternity or paternity leave.
Spouses, civil partners or partners who will be living with the mother and baby would also be entitled to take the leave. This leave would be paid and would be in addition to standard maternity or paternity pay.
Transparency Around Flexible Working
Employees, the government has argued, need to be more aware of what is available to them and their entitlement. This could be achieved by making it compulsory for employers to advertise whether a job can be done flexibly, and if employers employ over 250 people, publishing their family-related leave and pay polices.
How Does This Impact You?
These proposals are only at consultation stage and it remains to be seen which proposals the government decides to take forward. The first consultation has an end date of 29 November 2019, whereas the second and third close on 11 October 2019. These proposals could have a significant impact on the way that employers have to budget for parental and family leave, and it is recommended therefore that employers and employees keep an eye on how these consultations progress. The government appears to be committed to taking action to make arrangements more flexible for parents and further reporting on these issues is expected later in the year.