Law change – new employment right
Time off to accompany a pregnant woman to ante-natal appointments
From October 2014 partners now have the right to unpaid time off to accompany their pregnant partner for up to two anti natal appointment.
This new right will be available to employees and qualifying agency workers. It applies from day one of employment so requires no continuous service.
Employees do not need to make the time up and must not suffer any detriment for taking this new right.
It implements part 8 of the Children’s and Family Act 2014 and comes into force on 1st October 2014
Who qualifies for it?
It applies to the pregnant woman’s husband, civil partner or partner (including same-sex partner), the father or parent of a pregnant woman’s child, and intended parents in a surrogacy situation who meet specified conditions.
The leave is capped at 6.5 hours per appointment. And, is only for two appointments. The appointments must also have been recommended by a Doctor, Midwife or Medical Professional.
Of course, an employer can offer paid leave or offer more leave, if they wish to do so. This is just the Statutory minimum you have to comply with.
Asking for proof
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to ask for proof as such as it relates to the mother, not the father or parent of the child.
You could however, ask for a written statement and it may be wise to have an internal form fit for this purpose. This is so if you subsequently discover you have been misled and the time was taken for other purposes you can consider it a potential misconduct issue and grounds for disciplinary action.
And if you don’t?
Employees will have the right to bring claims in the Employment Tribunal if their employer unreasonably refuses to let them take time off for this purpose.
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I hope you have found this employment update useful. As with all the ‘family friendly’ legislation it is best to have this laid out in your Employees Handbook. Particularly as combined, they tend to be complex and hard for employers to follow.
A good Employee Handbook will not only ensure your legal compliance, it is a guide for your managers and employees on how you want your business to operate. Thereby protecting your business and laying the foundations for good performance management.
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