Chamber of Commerce: Parental leave is expandingBy Laura Herbert
January 29, 2013
The right of employees to take parental leave is expanding.
Employees who have been with their employer continuously for a year, and who have a child under five, can currently take up to 13 weeks’ unpaid parental leave before the child’s fifth birthday.
As parental leave applies to each child, an employee with two children below five is entitled to take up to 26 weeks.
From March 8, the period of leave for each child increases to 18 weeks.
The Government is already considering further changes, and we will be looking at the proposals.
Those with adopted or disabled children are advised to check their parental leave entitlements.
We also deal with issues regarding flexible working as businesses can fall foul of the law if they don’t follow set procedures when dealing with requests from employees.
Parents with children aged 16 and under (18, if the child is disabled) can request flexible working, provided they request it in writing, have worked for their employer continuously for a minimum of 26 weeks and haven’t previously made a request in the last 12 months.
Requests may cover proposals like flexitime, job sharing, part-time working, working from home or the same number of hours over fewer days.
Within 28 days of such requests, businesses must arrange to meet their employee, with a colleague if the employee wants.
Employers must give proper consideration and notify employees of decisions within 14 days.
Requests can be refused, but only in limited circumstances, such as the burden of additional costs.
Employees must be told they have a right of appeal, and there are time limits set for this process.
Failure to meet procedures could result in the employee bringing a tribunal claim against the employer, with compensation.
As long as employers deal with requests correctly, there should be no risk.
Ensure you have the correct procedures in place and seek legal advice if you need it.
For more go to http://wokinghamchamber.tvchamber.co.uk.
The chamber’s next Business Breakfast is on Tuesday, February 5, at Cantley Lodge, in Wellington Road, at 7.30am.
Stephen Reed, project manager at WSP Ltd, will talk about forthcoming improvements to Wokingham’s rail station and relief road.
The networking breakfast costs £16 for members and £21 for non-members. Call 01753 870 500 or visit www.thamesvalley chamber.co.uk/events.