Employment Law Bulletin October 2014


Around about now, some parents-to-be will be thinking ahead to next April. Now they have something to think about in addition to choosing names, repainting the spare room and taking out a second mortgage to buy a pushchair. In less than nine months’ time babies will start to be born to mothers, fathers and partners or will be placed with adopters who are entitled to a new form of shared parental leave.

The key date is 5th April 2015; babies born or placed through adoption on or after then will trigger rights for their parents to share paid parental between them, rather than the mother taking all (or most of) the leave as maternity leave. The existing (and very rarely used) additional paternity leave rules will be replaced.

It may seem some way off, but now is the time for businesses to start considering how they will implement the new rights and preparing policies to deal with employees’ requests. The new rules are quite fiendish in their complexity and do raise some difficult practical issues. We will be hosting a seminar in the new year to give you the full picture, but if you can’t wait, do get in touch.

The birth of new antenatal rights

Sticking with the parent and child theme, the right to attend antenatal appointments during working hours has been extended. As of 1 October 2014, expectant fathers and the partners of pregnant women can request to take unpaid time off work to be present at pregnancy-related medical appointments, as well as classes like parentcraft. The right extends to intended parents in a surrogacy arrangement too.