Family friendly Rights

What are your rights as a parent?

Parental Rights

  • What are my rights at work while pregnant?
  • Can I take Maternity leave?
  • Can I take Paternity leave?
  • Can I take Parental leave?
  • Can I request flexible hours?
  • How do I request flexible hours?

Parental Rights

What are my rights at work while pregnant?

Employment law for maternity leave can be complicated. This will broadly set out your rights, but members should check with their union officials or the Member Service Centre before acting.

An employer may not ‘unreasonably refuse’ pregnant employees paid time off for antenatal care. This includes antenatal appointments, relaxation and parent-craft classes as well as travelling time.

If the employer does ‘unreasonably refuse’ an employment tribunal may award compensation, but only to the value of the time off.

If the employee attends antenatal appointments after being refused permission and is sacked, it is possible to claim unfair dismissal, but there is no guarantee of being re-hired.

Can I take maternity leave?

All pregnant employees are now entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave regardless of their length of service. Although you will need to have been continuously employed for 26 weeks before the 15th week before the baby is due, and meet the earnings requirement, in order to qualify for Statutotry Maternity Pay which is paid for 39 weeks.

The first 26 weeks leave is known as Ordinary Maternity Leave (OML). The remaining 26 weeks is known as Additional Maternity Leave (AML). You must follow the proper notice procedure. This requires you to inform your employer by the end of the 15th week before the baby is due:

i) that you are pregnant;

ii) the week in which the baby is expected;

iii) the date that you intend to start your OML.

The earliest that this leave can be started is 11 weeks prior to the baby’s due date.

Additional Maternity Leave (AML) starts automatically after the end of OML, giving an entitlement to 52 weeks leave. After birth, all mothers are required to take 2 weeks compulsory maternity leave (four weeks if employed in a factory). This is to ensure the health of mother and child. A woman who wishes to return from maternity leave early must give her employer 8 weeks notice.

Can I take Paternity Leave?

Where your partner is giving birth, you are entitled to paternity leave if you have worked for 26 weeks or more consecutively for your employer at the end of the 15th week prior to the baby’s due date.

In such case you are entitled to either one or two week's paternity leave.

Where your partner is adopting, you are entitled to paternity leave where you have worked for your employer for 26 or more consecutive weeks in the week after the week that you were informed that you had been matched with a child for adoption.

In such case you are entitled to either one or two week's paternity leave.

Can I take parental leave?

If you have worked for your employer for at least a year, you are entitled to 13 weeks unpaid parental leave.

This entitlement is until:

i) the child reaches the age of five;

ii) the fifth anniversary after adoption or the child’s 18th birthday whichever comes first;

iii) if the child has a disability and qualifies for the Disability Living Allowance (DLA), you are entitled to up to 18 weeks leave before the child’s 18th birthday.

Can I request flexible hours?

The legislation surrounding flexible hours is complicated and you should speak to a union representative or Member Service Centre.

However, you do have the right to make a request if:

i) you have worked for your employer for 26 or more weeks consecutively;

ii) you are an employee and not an agency worker;

iii) you have a child under 6 or a disabled child under 18 and;

a. you are the primary carer,

b. are applying for flexibility in order to become the primary carer;

c. are the parent of the child, or are the partner of the parent;

d. you are caring for, or expect to be, caring for a person aged 18 or over who is either:

(i) married to or the partner or civil partner of the employee;
(ii) a relative of the employee; or
(iii) living at the same address as the employee.

How do I request flexible hours?

Any request for flexible hours should be made in writing, confirming the relationship to the child or person being cared for, detail proposed changes to your work pattern and potential impact upon the employer, include references to any previous proposals and be dated. All requests must be made at least 14 days prior to the child’s 6th birthday or 18th birthday in the case of a disabled child.

It is important to note that unless otherwise agreed, any changes become permanent and there is no automatic return to original work practices if there is a change of situation. Only one application for flexible working can be made each year.

 

This information is intended as a general guide and does not constitute legal advice. To find out if this information is relevant to your situation, please contact your Branch Secretary or call the member service centre on 0800 389 6332