Family friendly rights are not just for parents, they are for anyone that finds themselves in a caring role – it could be for an elderly or disabled relative for example. Finding a healthy work life balance can be difficult, but there are a range of options available to you under employment law.
If you need to alter your working pattern, or take time off because of a change in your circumstances, consider what options are available to you, both legally and under your terms and conditions of employment. You should then discuss them with your employer, your manager or your HR department, as appropriate. The vast majority of employers are aware of their legal obligations and are willing to accommodate reasonable requests. If you have any difficulty, you should speak to an employment law specialist before taking matters further with your employer.
As an employee, you have the right to request flexible working. It is not just for parents or those who are caring, provided that you have worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks. Flexible working could include working from home, working reduced hours, job sharing, working part-time, working compressed hours or working annualised hours. You can only make one applicati8on for flexible working each year, so you need to carefully consider what works best for you. Your written application must be considered by your employer who will inform you of their decision within 3 months (unless you have agreed a longer period with them). If your employer agrees to your request, the much amend your contract of employment to reflect the change. If they refuse, you may be able to complain to an employment tribunal.
You are normally able to take up to 52 weeks maternity leave, regardless of how long you have worked for your employer. It can be taken anytime from the 29th week of pregnancy. You must tell your employer that you ae pregnant and give them the date that you intend to start your maternity leave, which has to be no later than 25 weeks into the pregnancy. You will need to produce a MATB1 form, which you can get from your midwife or GP. See also pay advice.
If you have been continuously employed for more than 1 year, you are entitled to up to 18 weeks’ unpaid parental leave for each child. It is available to parents with children up to the age of 5, or up to 18 if the child is disabled.
Shared parental leave
If you are expecting or adopting a child, you and your partner may be able to share the maternity leave and pay. To qualify you both need to be in paid employment and have worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks by the time the mother is 25 weeks pregnant, or by the date of the placement in the case of adoption. Your partner must also have worked for 26 weeks out of the last 66 weeks (they do not have to be consecutive weeks and must have earned at least £30 per week).
Working fathers are entitled to up to 2 weeks paternity leave after the birth of their child. To qualify you must have worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks by the time your partner / spouse is 25 weeks pregnant. You must be taking responsibility for the child’s upbringing, either as a biological father or the partner of the mother, including same sex partners. Finally, you must make sure that you give your employer proper notice. Paternity leave can only be taken from the day the baby is born or due or from the date agreed with your employer.
Adoptive parental leave
To qualify, you must have worked for your employer for at least 26 weeks by the time you are matched with a child. The child must be unrelated to either you or your partner and you must be taking responsibility for the child’s upbringing.
If you are a working parent that has been matched for adoption, you will normally be able to take up to 52 weeks adoption leave. You will also be entitled to the 39 weeks of Statutory Adoption Pay at 90% of your gross weekly earnings for the first 6 weeks, then either 90% or £139.98 for the remaining 33 weeks.
How we can help
Our highly experienced employment law specialists can give you all the advice and support you need when it comes to dealing with your family friendly rights in the workplace.
If you would like more information or just want a confidential, no obligation chat about your options, contact our highly experienced team today.