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Flexible Paternity Leave & What it Means to Employers

Deputy PM Nick Clegg yesterday announced the Government's proposals to introduce 'Flexible Paternity Leave' by amending current legislation on maternity, paternity and adoption leave and pay to allow both partners to take leave at the same time from 2015.  

Retained in the proposed Flexible Paternity Leave legislation will be:

  • The default 52-week entitlement to maternity leave;
  • The 39 weeks' statutory maternity pay for eligible women, and;
  • A fathers' entitlement to two weeks' ordinary paternity leave and pay.

Changes that will follow in 2015 if the Government's proposals are implemented will enable mothers to commit to ending their maternity leave and pay at a future date, and share the untaken balance of leave and pay as "flexible parental leave" with their partner.  Flexible parental leave will have to be taken in a minimum of one-week blocks.

Key elements of the changes:

  • Parents will need to meet qualifying criteria (a minimum level of earnings and length of service) to use the new flexible parental system and each parent will need to meet the qualifying criteria for leave and pay in his or her own right.  
  • Similar options will be available to adoptive parents who meet the qualifying conditions, to bring adoption leave and pay in line with the leave and pay rights available to birth parents.
  • Statutory adoption leave will become a "day one" right with no qualifying conditions for eligible adopters who are matched with a child for adoption. Statutory adoption pay will also be amended to mirror statutory maternity pay.
  • Fathers, and partners of pregnant women, the right to take unpaid time off work to attend two antenatal appointments with their pregnant partner.

The Government will also consider making arrangements for working parents who do not meet the qualifying requirements to receive statutory payments, although such a provision will not be introduced before 2018.

Employers will need to ensure they have in place policies and procedures which support these changes to avoid falling foul of the proposed changes and leaving themselves exposed to claims of brwach of contract and/or sex discrimination.

EmployEasily HR are specialists at producing a borad range of employment related documents including contracts of employment and employee handbooks containing legally compliant HR policies covering areas such as those described above.  

For a free quote contact us today on 0800 612 4772 or use our Free Quote form on our website and someone will contact you to discuss your requirments in more detail.

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