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Wednesday, 14 November 2012 15:01

Parental Flexibility

Written by  Philip Hyland
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It has been widely reported that the coalition has been looking at ways to extend the rights of parents following childbirth. They have today announced a new proposal to give parents more flexibility. At the moment women can take a maximum of 52 weeks offas maternity leave and fathers can have two
weeks off as paternity leave. In April 2011 parents received more flexibility when fathers could take up to 6 months leave when the baby was 20 weeks old to enable them to share the maternity leave period but this was only in one continuous block provided the mother had returned to work. The new proposal talks of an implementation date of 2015 and would enable parents to take time off together or take it in turns removing the need for it to be in a continuous block. The total leave period would remain at 52 weeks.

Small businesses have raised concerns over costs but unions have welcomed the proposal. This may make the option of parental leave more attractive for families if the burden can be shared and no one parent is left holding the baby for a prolonged period! Often fathers miss out for financial reasons or for not wanting to do it for a prolonged period. Shorter bursts would limit the financial burden for the family but would be very disruptive for employers. At least with the mother taking her full entitlement they know where they stand for planning purposes

Last modified on Saturday, 17 November 2012 11:26
Philip Hyland

Philip Hyland

Philip Hyland
Principal
philip@pjhlaw.co.uk

Website: www.pjhlaw.co.uk E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

1 Comment

  • Comment Link liz milnes Friday, 16 November 2012 11:33 posted by liz milnes

    Maternity leave causes a lot of problems for small business.I have been in business for 30 years, am a working mother and always want to make the job fit with family and child commitments.
    I have experience over a 25 year employee span, and offer shorter weeks, shorter days, and total flexibility to ensure great , well trained , experienced employees can continue to enjoy their working life with the added responsibilities of a new family.
    However, it isn't always a two way relationship.
    Maternity leave can be taken to suit.
    it can be for 3 months. 6 months, 9 months or 12 months.
    No confirmation of the length of the leave has to be confirmed.( difficult to arrange for cover)
    While the employee is on leave they are accruing holidays at the full time rate.
    They can then select to return part time
    (even if hat is totally detrimental to the job that requires a full time commitment)
    And then claim all of the holidays at the full 5 day per week rate( even if they are only working 2 days a week) ( whilst accruing more holidays on the holiday entitlement of full time work)
    And then having taken the holidays for full time work, gained lots more, and had lots of time off due to family commitments, they can then resign, or sign on again on maternity leave and have to have their work limited to suit their condition.
    while this is O.K for one staff member, when 4 of a staff of 16 all take mat leave, provide no confirmation of the duration of the leave, insist on returning part time, and take all the holiday and then leave , it does rather cloud the ethical aspirations of the employer.
    this is a real case scenario, I am currently experiencing 2 mat leaves out of 13, and suffering from from 4 previously full time staff working part time, with part time mentality rather than full time engagement with responsibility.
    It is impossible to recruit the full time staff we so desperately need, and some of the newly pregnant staff have no long term service or experience but are so heavily protected due to their status it will be very detrimental business.
    The rules are so destructive to small business,the ethics are not in question,but in practice the employer loses every time, and so they will have to stop employing, and cease trading.

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