Family Friendly Working - Next Steps
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30 September 2010 - BIS
Plans to make it easier for people to balance work and family life were set
out by Employment Relations Minister Edward Davey today.
Mr Davey signalled the Government’s intention to bring forward ambitious
proposals to create more flexible, family friendly workplaces. He announced
· the right to request flexible working will be extended to
parents of children under 18 from April 2011 – benefiting nearly 300,000 more
· a consultation will be launched later this year looking at how to
extend the right to request flexible working to all employees, and the design
of a new system of flexible parental leave;
The Minister said:
“We want to help parents and create a fairer, family friendly society. We
will be launching a consultation later this year to make sure the law better
supports real families juggling work and family life, and the businesses that
“This immediate change will give parents of all children regardless of age
the same right to request flexible working. It will also make it simpler for
employers and employees to identify whether they are eligible to make a
“The plans we’ll unveil later this year are much more ambitious but these
interim measures will help us learn valuable lessons and are an important
Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone said:
“A family-friendly workplace is a business-friendly workplace. Companies
are missing out the skills and talents of too many people who are forced to
choose between raising a family and having a job, so we will be working with
businesses to change this in a way that will make life better for employers,
employees and the economy.
“This will be a long process involving wide-ranging change, and today’s
measures are the first stage in that journey.”
Currently the right to request flexible working is available to parents of
children aged under 17, parents of disabled children under 18 and carers of
The consultation will be part of the ongoing employment law review. At its
heart is the Government’s commitment to maximise flexibility for both
employers and employees while protecting fairness and providing the
competitive environment required for enterprise to thrive.
1) Individuals must be continuously employed by the same employer for more
than 26 weeks before a request for flexible working can be made. Approximately
10.5 million employees are currently eligible under the right (8 million
parents and 2.65 million carers of adults). The number of additional employees
that could benefit is estimated at 288,000.
Carers qualify when they care, or expect to care, for a spouse, partner,
civil partner or relative or live at the same address as the person being
The legislation provides eligible employees the right to request a change
in their contractual working pattern from their employer and places a
statutory duty on the employer to seriously consider it and only reject it
where there is a clear business reason for doing so.
2) The Additional Paternity Leave regulations will remain in force as an
interim measure for encouraging shared parenting from the earliest stages of
pregnancy. The regulations were implemented in April 2010 and have effect for
parents of children due on or after 3 April 2011.
Additional Paternity leave will give employed fathers a right to up to six
months extra leave which can be taken once the mother has returned to work.
Some of the leave may be paid if taken during the mother’s maternity pay
period. This is paid at 90% of earnings up to the same standard rate as
Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) which is currently £124.88 per week.
This new provision will be available during the second six months of the
child’s life, giving parents more choice in child care responsibilities and
for the first time ever, the option of dividing a period of paid leave
entitlement between them.
3) The Coalition: our programme for government states that:
“We will extend the right to request flexible working to all employees,
consulting with business on how best to do so.”
“We will encourage shared parenting from the earliest stages of pregnancy –
including the promotion of a system of flexible parental leave.”
“We will review employment and workplace laws, for employers and employees,
to ensure they maximise flexibility for both parties while protecting fairness
and providing the competitive environment required for enterprise to thrive.”
About the Author
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2010-10-01 15:47:56 in Employee Articles