The Children and Families Act 2014, which contains a number of changes to employment law, such as those relating to the right to request flexible working has now received the Royal Assent.
Right to Request Flexible Working
Originally meant to take effect in April 2014, the new date of implementation for this right to be extended to all employees is 30 June 2014. The Act also removes the requirement for employees to follow the previous statutory process and timescales but employers will still need to ensure that they consider all requests reasonably so a process is advisable.
Acas have issued some draft guidance to try and assist employers, which can be found on their website. For example, if you have a number of requests at the same time, Acas suggest implementing some fair way of deciding between them, such as drawing names from a hat. Employers will still be able to refuse a request on business grounds.
Shared Parental Leave
The Act allows eligible working parents to share the remaining leave and connected pay where a woman decides to bring her maternity leave and pay to an end earlier than the full entitlement. The shared parental leave and pay can be up to a maximum of 50 weeks leave and 37 weeks pay, subject to what is remaining.
The Act is also looking to extend the right to adoption leave and pay to parents in fostering for adoptions systems and intended parents in a surrogacy arrangement (although eligibility requirements will need to be met along with the intention for those intended parents to apply for a parental order). There is also the intention to raise statutory adoption pay to 90% salary for the first 6 weeks.
It is the aim that the shared parental leave provisions will begin to take effect in relation to those children due or matched/placed for adoption on or after 5 April 2015.
Time Off Work for Ante-Natal Care
As of the 1st October 2014, it is intended that all eligible employees and agency workers will be able to take unpaid time off to attend a maximum of 2 ante—natal appointments with their wife, partner, civil partner, mother or parent of their child and intended parents in a surrogacy situation. A further provision is to allow time off, whether paid or unpaid, for adopters to attend meetings with the adoption agency.
If you require any employment advice, please do not hesitate to contact the Employment Team on 01604 258558.