Working parents

Working parents have rights.

Can I change my work pattern?

You can do this in a number of ways, such as changing your hours, by working from home, part-time, flexi-time, job sharing and shift working. Asking to work flexibly simply means working a different work pattern to the way you work now.

Anyone can ask to work flexibly but those with 26 weeks’ continuous service will be eligible to make a statutory request. This triggers a process your employer has to follow.

It is important to remember it is not a right to be given flexible working but a right to apply.


My partner is having a baby. What leave am I entitled to?

You could be entitled to either 1 or 2 weeks paternity leave which you must take in one go within 56 days of the child’s birth – or placement with you if being adopted.

To qualify for paternity leave, you must be an employee and have worked for your employer continuously for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth. You need to give your employer notice but you don’t have to specify an exact date – instead, you can give a general time, including the day of the birth or 1 week after the baby arrives. A woman can take paternity leave if she is the partner of the mother.


Do I get paid during paternity leave?

Statutory Paternity Pay is currently £140.98 per week   or 90% of your average weekly earnings – whichever is lower.

Any money you get is paid in the same way as your wages, such as monthly or weekly. Tax and National Insurance will be deducted. The same qualifying period as for paternity leave applies and you must be earning at least £113 per week (before tax).

Some employers will have more generous paternity pay and leave schemes in place.


Can I take time off to attend my partner’s ante-natal appointments?

Yes. There is no qualifying period for this right but it is limited to 2 occasions and for a maximum of 6.5 hours each time (although employers can be more generous with time off if they want to).


Contractual benefits

Your contract of employment continues whilst you are on paternity leave which means you  are entitled to all the same benefits except for your wages or salary – unless your contract of employment provides better terms.


Return to work after paternity leave

You are entitled to return to the same job following paternity leave.


Protection from detriment and dismissal

You are protected from suffering unfair treatment or dismissal for taking, or wanting to take, paternity leave. If you believe you have been treated unfairly, you can complain to an Employment Tribunal.


Can I take time off for an emergency?

Yes, all employees are entitled to take a reasonable amount of (unpaid) time off work to deal with an emergency or unexpected situation involving someone who is dependent on you.


Can I share some of my leave?

Shared Parental Leave will enable you as a mother, father, partner or adopter to choose how to share time off work after your child is born or placed for adoption. This could involve returning to work for part of the time and then resuming leave at a later date.

Shared Parental Leave gives parents more flexibility in how to share the care of their child in the first year following birth or adoption. Parents will be able to share a ‘pot’ of leave, and can decide to be off work at the same time and/or take it in turns to have periods of leave to look after the child.

Statutory Shared Parental Pay is paid at £139.58 or 90% of your average weekly earnings – whichever is lower.

If the mother or adopter restricts their entitlement to maternity/adoption pay or maternity allowance before they have used their full entitlement then Statutory Shared Parental Pay can be claimed for any remaining weeks.

To qualify for Statutory Shared Parental Pay a parent must pass the continuity of employment test and have earned an average salary over the lower earnings limit of £113 for the 8 weeks’ prior to the 15th week before the expected due date or of being matched for adoption. The other parent in the family also must meet an employment and earnings test.

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