In last year’s Modern Workplace Consultation, a proposal was given to make changes to the current maternity leave which would mean that mothers and fathers would be able to share the maternity leave more flexibly than the current schemes. The proposal was that this would be enforced by April 2015. However it has now been confirmed that this is unlikely to be the effective date as the Government are listening to the concerns raised regarding this proposal having a significant impact on businesses.
In a nutshell, the new rules would entitle couples with a new baby to a total of 58 weeks of leave, with 22 weeks reserved for the mother, six reserved for the father and the remaining 30 weeks to be shared between the parents as they choose, although the mother must legally refrain from returning to work for the first two weeks from the birth of the baby. New parents could also decide to take their leave simultaneously and choose to request leave in blocks of any duration, although employers would also have the right to refuse if they had a business case for doing so.
Family friendly rights and entitlements also appear to be constantly changing and being reviewed with the Government trying to achieve a work-home life balance being readily available for all working families. As always we will keep you abreast of information and forthcoming implementation dates of statutory rights.