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Family friendly rights

Family friendly rights include maternity, adoption, paternity and parental leave, time off for dependants, and rights for flexible working and part-time workers.

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Our solicitors can provide you with practical legal advice and representation if you have any issues pertaining to family friendly rights.

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We take time to understand your issues and this enables us to provide you with a tailored service that suits your specific needs.

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We understand you may have concerns about bringing a claim against your employer, but we’re here to guide you and give you the right advice and help when you need it.

“Rosie was very helpful in guiding me through my case. I never felt rushed and she always responded in a timely manner. Would recommend to others!”

Understanding maternity leave

All pregnant employees are entitled to 52 weeks maternity leave, this is made up of 26 weeks of ordinary leave and 26 weeks of additional maternity leave.

Female employees are entitled to 26 weeks of ordinary maternity leave regardless of their length of service, during this time they are entitled to receive all of their contractual benefits except terms and conditions about remuneration.

On return from ordinary maternity leave, an employee is entitled to her old job back on the same terms and conditions.

A further 26 weeks of additional maternity leave follows on from ordinary maternity leave.

An employee is entitled to return to the same job after additional maternity leave, or, if this is not reasonably practicable, to another job that is both suitable and appropriate in all the circumstances.

The terms and conditions must be no less favourable than if the employee had not been absent.

Pension rights do not accrue during any unpaid part of additional maternity leave.

To qualify for statutory maternity pay, an employee must have 26 weeks of service at the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth.

Statutory maternity pay is payable for 39 weeks; 6 weeks are paid at 90% of pay or the statutory pay, whichever is lower, plus 33 weeks at the statutory rate.

In order to be entitled to take maternity leave an employee must give notice to the employer of her pregnancy, the expected date of childbirth and the date she expects her ordinary maternity leave to start, on or before the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth. These plans can be changed by giving 28 days’ notice.

Maternity leave can be triggered if an employee is off work wholly or partly because of pregnancy during or after the fourth week before the expected week of childbirth.

The earliest a woman can start maternity leave is 11 weeks before her baby is due, unless the baby is born earlier.

The first two weeks of leave, starting from the date of birth, are known as compulsory leave.

The compulsory maternity leave period is extended to four weeks for those working in a factory.

Those with the status of workers who do not have a contract of employment do not have the right to statutory maternity leave.

Adoption Leave

The provisions for adoption leave mirror the maternity leave rights, allowing an adopting parent to take 26 weeks of ordinary adoption leave followed by 26 weeks of additional adoption leave.

Rights during adoption leave are the same as for maternity leave.

To be entitled to take adoption leave, an employee must give their employer notice within 7 days of being notified by an adoption agency that they have been matched with a child.

When both parents are adopting a child, they must elect which of them is to be the ‘adopter’ as only one parent may take adoption leave.

Paternity Leave

Fathers, partners, civil partners and adoptive parents are entitled to one to two consecutive weeks of leave, within 56 days of the child’s birth or placement, so long as they have 26 weeks of continuous service at the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth or by the week they are notified of being matched with a child.

Notice of the intention to take paternity leave is the same as for maternity or adoption leave and statutory paternity leave is paid at a flat rate or at 90% of earnings if lower.

Parental Leave

Employees who have responsibility for a child are entitled to unpaid leave of up to 18 weeks for each child under the age of 18.

The leave must be taken for the purpose of caring for the child and must be taken in periods of a week, subject to a maximum of 4 weeks.

An employee is entitled to parental leave if they have worked continuously for their current employer for a least one year.

The employee must give the employer notice of the precise start and finish dates of the leave at least 21 days before they wish to take it, unless otherwise stated in their contract.

Time off for dependants

Employees have the right to take time off for urgent family reasons.

There is no statutory right to be paid during such time off.

For the purpose of this right, a dependant is an employee’s spouse or civil partner, child, parent or person living in the same household as the employee excluding tenants, lodgers or individuals employed by the employee.

In some circumstances, the definition of dependants may be wider.

This right applies from the first day of employment.

Flexible working

An employee with at least 26 weeks’ continuous service has the statutory right to make an application or request to their employer for flexible working i.e. to change how many hours they are required to work, when they are required to work or where their work is done.

An individual may make a request for flexible working that falls outside the statutory scheme i.e. the individual is a worker, not an employee or the individual is an employee but does not have 26 weeks’ continuous service.

An employer may have a policy that allows requests to be made outside the statutory scheme or may generally not accept requests outside the statutory scheme.

Part-time working

Part-time workers must not be treated any less favourably than a comparable full-timer, unless the difference can be justified by the employer.

Part-time workers have the right to request from their employer a written statement giving reasons for any less favourable treatment to which they have been subjected.

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