Presentation on theme: "Family Friendly Employment Rights The Government has introduced a range of new employment rights designed to help working parents. In addition to amendments."— Presentation transcript:
Family Friendly Employment Rights The Government has introduced a range of new employment rights designed to help working parents. In addition to amendments to the existing maternity leave provisions, new entitlements to paternity leave and pay, adoption leave and pay and a right to request flexible working conditions have been created.
-2- The new regime is scheduled to take effect from 6 th April 2003 and the main provisions are summarised below. Further more detailed information and advice can of course be provided as required as can assistance in amending your employment policies and staff handbooks to take account of these new employment rights.
Maternity Pay and Leave Women whose expected week of childbirth begins on or after 6th April 2003 will benefit from the new provisions. The length of ordinary maternity leave will be increased from 18 to 26 weeks. Women will be eligible regardless of the duration of their employment and will be entitled to statutory maternity pay during the ordinary maternity leave period. A further 6 months’ unpaid maternity leave will be available to women who have completed 26 weeks’ continuous service with their employer at the beginning of the 14 th week before their expected week of childbirth (EWC).
-2- For all women receiving the standard rate of statutory maternity pay, the standard rate of statutory maternity pay will increase from £75 per week to £100 per week (or 90% of the woman’s average weekly earnings if this is less than £100 a week) from 6 th April 2003. Statutory maternity pay will continue to be paid at 90% of the average weekly earnings for the first six months, and will then be paid at the standard rate for the remaining weeks.
Premature Births If the EWC falls on or after 6 th April 2003 and the child is born prematurely, the mother will be entitled to the new maternity leave rights. She will be entitled to 26 weeks ordinary maternity leave and, if applicable, 26 weeks additional maternity leave. Women who have already commenced their statutory maternity leave period prior to 6 th April 2003 will receive statutory maternity leave or maternity allowance at the standard rate of £75 per week up to 5 th April 2003.
Late Births If the EWC falls before 6 th April 2003, and the child is born on or after 6 th April 2003, the mother is entitled to the old leave and pay entitlements.
Notification Requirements An employee will require to give notification of the date upon which she intends her ordinary maternity leave to start before the end of the fifteenth week prior to the EWC. The employee will be able to change her mind about the date provided she gives her employer 28 days’ notice. Absence from work on account of pregnancy will cause an employee’s ordinary maternity leave to begin automatically if it is after the beginning of the fourth week before the EWC.
-2- An employer will require to notify the employee of the date upon which maternity leave will end. If he does not do so, he will be unable to prevent the employee from returning early, and the employee will be protected from detriment or dismissal if she fails to return on the due date.
Employers’ Recovery of Payments Employers will be allowed to offset statutory maternity payments against contributions due to be made to the Inland Revenue. Employers will continue to be able to recover statutory maternity payments in the same way and to the same extent as previously. One new provision is that employers can also claim advance funding if the amount they are due to pay will exceed any payments they are due to make to the Inland Revenue. The Inland Revenue will however be able to recover any overpayments of advance funding. Employers’ recovery of payments will operate in the same manner for paternity pay and for adoption pay.
Paternity Leave and Pay Employees whose partner has an EWC on or after 6 th April 2003 will be entitled to the new paternity leave and pay provisions. An employee will be entitled to paid paternity leave if he has or expects to have responsibility for the child’s upbringing; he is the biological father of the child or is the mother’s husband or partner; and he has worked continuously for the employer for 26 weeks preceding the 14th week before the baby is due. Paternity leave can be taken as either two periods of one week or two consecutive weeks, but not as a collection of odd days.
-2- Paternity leave can commence on any day of the week but must be completed within 56 days of the child’s birth. If the child is born early leave must be completed within 56 days after the first day of the EWC. An employee will require to give notification of the date upon which his paternity leave is to begin before the fifteenth week prior to the EWC. The employee will be able to change his mind about the date provided he gives his employer 28 days’ notice. An employee must then give his employer a further notice after the child’s birth of the date upon which the child was born.
-3- An employee is only entitled to two weeks’ paternity leave regardless of whether more than one child is born as a result of the same pregnancy. During their paternity leave employees will be entitled to statutory paternity pay. This will be the same as the standard rate of statutory maternity pay. Employees who have average earnings below the lower earnings limit for national insurance contributions (£75 per week) will not qualify for statutory paternity pay.
Premature Births If the EWC falls on or after 6 th April 2003, and the child is born prematurely, employees will be entitled to take paternity leave and pay. Any paternity pay period which starts before 6 th April 2003 will be paid for the full period at £75 per week
Late Births If the EWC falls before 6 th April 20303, and the child is born on or after 6 th April 2003, employees will have the right to take paternity leave and pay.
Employment Protection An employee will be protected from unfair dismissal or detriment related to paternity leave in the same way as is a woman when taking maternity leave.
Adoption Leave and Pay There will be a new statutory right to six months’ paid and six months’ unpaid leave to parents who have adopted a child. Adoption Leave will be available to individuals who adopt, and to one member of a couple where a couple adopt jointly. The partner of an individual who adopts (or the other member of a couple who are adopting jointly) may be entitled to paternity leave and pay. Both paid adoption leave and paid paternity leave will be available to employees where an approved adoption agency notifies the adopter of a match with a child on or after 6 th April 2003.
-2- Both adoption and paternity leave and pay will also be available to employees where an approved adoption agency notifies the adopter of a match with a child before 6 th April 2003, but the child is placed on or after 6 th April 2003 (special notice arrangements will apply). An employee will only be eligible for adoption leave if he or she has been newly matched with a child for adoption by an approved adoption agency and has continuously worked for his employer for 26 weeks leading up to the week when he or she is notified of a match.
Start of Adoption Leave Employees can choose to start their leave: from the date of the child’s placement (whether this is earlier or later than expected), or from a fixed date which can be up to fourteen days before the expected date of the placement. Adoption leave can start on any day of the week. Only one period of leave will be available regardless of whether more than one child has been placed for adoption as part of the same arrangement.
-2- If the placement ends during the adoption leave period, the adopter will be able to continue adoption leave for up to eight weeks after the end of the placement.
Statutory Adoption pay Most adopters will be entitled to statutory adoption pay (SAP) during their adoption leave. SAP will be paid by employers for up to 26 weeks. This will be the same as the standard rate of statutory maternity pay. Adopters who have average earnings below the lower earnings limit for national insurance contributions will not be entitled to SAP.
Notice of Intention to take Adoption Leave Adopters will require to give notice of their intention to take adoption leave within seven days of being notified of a match (unless this is not reasonably practicable). The adopter will require to identify when the child is expected to be placed with them and when they want the adoption leave to start. Adopters can change their mind on the start date providing they tell their employer at least 28 days in advance (unless this is not reasonably practicable). The same timescale applies in relation to the date upon which the adopter wishes payments of SAP to start.
-2- An employer will require to write to the adopter setting out the date they expect the employee to return to work if the full entitlement to adoption leave is taken. Employees will require to give their employer documentary evidence in the form of a ‘matching certificate’ from their adoption agency as evidence of their entitlement to SAP.
Return to Work Employees who want to return to work before the end of their adoption leave period will require to give 28 days’ notice of the date upon which they intend to return. Employees will be protected from suffering a detriment or unfair dismissal for reasons related to taking, or seeking to take, adoption leave.
Paternity Pay and Leave (Adoption) When a child is placed for adoption, adoption leave is not the only right of relevance. Subject to meeting the qualifying criteria, some employees will be eligible to take paternity leave and pay. This will operate irrespective of gender. If a couple adopt a child jointly, either of them may take adoption leave. If the woman takes adoption leave the man may be entitled to take paternity leave and vice versa. The only distinction in taking paternity leave in adoption situations is that references to the birth are replaced by references to the date of matching.
Flexible Working From 6 th April 2003 an employee will be able to request a change in working conditions to enable him, or her to care for a child aged under six or for a disabled child aged under eighteen. An employee will be entitled to make such a request if he or she:- has been continuously employed by the employer for 26 weeks on the date of the application for flexible working is (i) the mother, father, adopter, guardian or foster parent of the child, or (ii) married to any of the above people or the partner of any of these people and living with the child; or expects to have responsibility for the child’s upbringing.
-2- An employee may request a change in his or her conditions relating to the hours of work, the times he is required to work, and where he is required to work. The initial onus will be on the employee to make a considered request. Only one application can be made per employee per year and an accepted application will result in a permanent change to the employee’s terms and conditions of employment.
Procedure Where an employer receives a request, he will require to hold a meeting within 28 days to discuss the application and he will require to notify the employee of his decision within 28 days. An employee will be able to appeal against a negative decision within 14 days of receiving the decision. An employee will be entitled to be accompanied by a colleague at both the initial meeting and any subsequent appeal.