Carers will get the right to request flexible working from their employers under new government legislation, announced today.
The Work and Families Bill’s main focus is statutory maternity and paternity leave entitlements. Its provisions include extending statutory maternity pay and maternity allowance to nine months from their current six. Fathers may also be able to take some of the extended leave and benefit entitlement if the mother returned to work early.
But carers may also benefit from the extension of the right to request flexible working – a benefit which currently only applies to parents with children under six-years-old or disabled children under-18.
Other provisions in the bill include:
– ‘keeping in touch days’ where women on maternity leave can work for a few days during maternity leave, without losing any entitlement, to keep in contact with her colleagues and employers.
– extending to two months the notice period for women on maternity leave to notify employers of their intention to return to work, enabling employers to better plan for their return to work.
Trade and Industry Secretary Alan Johnson said the bill would “deliver on our commitment to help working parents balance the demands of their job with caring for their children by introducing a modern framework of rights and responsibilities that offers real choice and flexibility”.