Family Friendly Rights

Employees now enjoy extensive rights that allow them to balance work with family life.

You may be affected by this. For example, if you are having a child and wish to return to work following maternity leave on a part-time basis. Alternatively, perhaps you’ve reached a stage in your career where you want to work from home or combine your current employment with secondary employment or part-time study and need to change your working arrangements.

Our expert employment lawyers can guide you through the maze of employment regulation and help you understand your rights and options.

Flexible working – from June 2014 all employees with 6 months service have the right to request flexible working. Flexible working encompasses any variant on working full-time from the employer’s premises such as:

  • Part-time work
  • Remote / Home working
  • Job sharing
  • Shift working

Under the new rules from June 2014 employers must consider flexible working requests reasonably and within three months of receiving the request (including dealing with any appeal). An ACAS statutory code of practice on dealing with flexible working requests must be complied with. Employers wishing to turn down a flexible working request must be able to demonstrate one of eight ‘business grounds’ for refusal. Employees can complain to an Employment Tribunal for breaches of the flexible working regulations. Alternatively, or in addition, such employees may complain that a refusal to allow flexible working gives rise to a discrimination claim.

Family leave and pay – in the UK employees can take statutory leave (often with a statutory right to pay) in a variety of situations such as:

  • (from April 2015) Shared Parental leave (with statutory Shared Parental pay)
  • Maternity leave (with statutory maternity pay)
  • Adoption leave (with statutory adoption pay)
  • Paternity leave (with statutory paternity pay)
  • Unpaid parental leave (under the Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations 1999)

In each case there are complex statutory rules regarding entitlement, notification and employment rights during family leave. Failure to correctly comply with the law can result in Employment Tribunal claims under the relevant legislation such as the Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations 1999 or other employment claims such as for discrimination or unfair constructive dismissal.

We can give clear and comprehensive advice to employees on these issues to assist you to make wise decisions. By seeking our advice you will be better placed to engage effectively with your employer regarding your employment conditions.