An update to family friendly rights

Written by Kevin Murphy
28 March, 2024
paternity leave and family right protections

April 2024 is a month of change for employment law, carers leave has been introduced, flexible working provisions have been extended, national minimum wage has increased. 

There have been further extensions to family friendly rights under: 

What protection does the law currently offer those on maternity, adoption or shared parental leave?

Currently, the law states that in a redundancy situation, parents on maternity, adoption or shared parental leave should be given the opportunity to refuse suitable alternative employment before any other employees affected by redundancy.

What are the changes for maternity leave?

The Act extends the protection above for those on maternity to cover pregnancy and 18 months from the first day of the estimated week of childbirth. This period can be changed to cover 18 months from the date of birth, but the employee must give the employer notice of this date prior to the end of maternity leave.

In other words, should a pregnant person be at risk of redundancy, they are entitled to first refusal during the pregnancy and for 18 months after either the first day of the estimated week of childbirth or 18 months after the birth of the child.

What extra protection do those on adoption leave get?

The Act extends the protection above for those on adoption leave to cover a period from placement for adoption.

What extra protection do those taking shared parental leave have?

The Act extends the protection above for those on shared paternal leave 18 months from birth, on the condition that the parent takes at least 6 consecutive weeks of leave.  If the employee is benefitting from the extended maternity or adoption protections they cannot benefit from this protection however.

What are the changes to paternity rules?

The Paternity Act gives new parents more flexibility to choose when to take statutory paternity leave. Under the new rules, employees will be able to take statutory paternity leave at any point in the first year (as opposed to the first eight weeks) and will be able to split it up into two separate blocks of one week (rather than having to take two weeks together).

The notice requirements are also changing so that dads/partners will only have to give 28 days’ notice of the leave they intend to take, rather than the previous 15 weeks.

What do employers need to do?

Employers or HR Directors should be reviewing company documents to make sure that they are up to date with the above changes, and all of the others that are taking effect in April 2024.  Employment Law Solutions offer employment Law advice and can assist with the implementation of carer’s leave.  By using a monthly retainer service you are able to benefit from HR advice for all of the HR headaches that you might face – 24/7, 365 days a year, all while spreading the cost over 12 monthly payments.

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