Children and Families Act 2014 Receives Royal Assent
The Children and Families Act 2014, which introduces shared parental leave and extends the right to request flexible working, has received Royal Assent.
In addition, from October 2014, employees will be able to take unpaid time off work to attend up to two ante-natal appointments with a pregnant woman. The right is available to the pregnant woman's husband, civil partner or partner (including same-sex partners), the father or parent of a pregnant woman's child, and intended parents in a surrogacy situation. Adopters will also be entitled to paid and unpaid time off work to attend meetings before a child is placed with them for adoption.
The new system of shared parental leave and pay, which allows a mother to bring her maternity leave to an end and opt into the shared parental leave system and share leave with the child’s father, is expected to come into force where the baby is due to be born on or after 5 April 2015. The Government is currently consulting on draft Regulations dealing with the administration of shared parental leave.
At the same time, changes will be made to adoption leave and pay so that no qualifying period will be required for leave and statutory adoption pay will be raised to 90 per cent of salary for the first six weeks. These changes will bring entitlements for adoptive parents into line with those for birth parents.
The extension of the right to request flexible working to all employees is intended to come into force on 30 June 2014. At the same time the current statutory process for considering requests will be replaced with an obligation to consider requests in a 'reasonable' manner. ACAS has published a draft Code and guidance on flexible working to help employers comply with this obligation.
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