On 13 March 2014 the Children and Families Act 2014 received royal assent and will introduce a number of changes this year for working parents.
The right to request flexible working
From 30 June 2014, the right to request flexible working will be extended to all employees. Currently the right to request flexible working only extends to employees with 26 weeks’ service who have the responsibility of care for:
- A child under the age of 16 (18 if the child is disabled);
- An adult in need of care who is married to them, their partner, or who lives with them.
Currently employers must follow a statutory procedure when considering any flexible working requests. The statutory procedure will be replaced with a duty placed on employers to consider all requests in a reasonable manner. This will be supplemented with a code of practice from ACAS.
Time off for fathers
From 1 October 2014, the Employment Rights Act 1996 will be amended. Fathers and partners will be permitted to take time away from work to attend up to two antenatal appointments with their partner. This time will be unpaid and subject to a maximum of six and a half hours for each appointment.
Adopters may also take time off to attend appointments to meet the child they intend to adopt, up to a maximum of six and a half hours for each appointment.
Currently, anyone wanting to take such leave would have to use annual leave or discuss unpaid leave with their employer without having any expressed rights to the time.
How does this affect employers?
Employers need to ensure that all internal policies regarding flexible working and time off work are updated to reflect the new changes in the legislation. If prescribed forms are used these will also need to be updated to ensure compliance.
For further information on the above changes, please contact our Employment team on 0161 475 7666.