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New Consultation: Family Friendly, Working Time and More

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The Department for Business Innovation and Skills has launched a new consultation document entitled 'Consultation on Modern Workplaces'.

It proposes the following:- 

  • Flexible parental leave: retaining 18 weeks' maternity leave for mothers, then reclassifying the remaining maternity leave as 'parental leave' and allowing it to be taken by either mother, or father, or both. Either way, most of it will be paid. The consultation will also cover allowing employers and employees to agree for parental leave to be taken in chunks, or on a part-time basis
  • Flexible working: extending the right to request flexible working to all employees, not just those with children under 17 (or 18 for parents of disabled children)
  • Working time regulations: amending the WTR to bring them into line with ECJ caselaw, namely providing that employees can carry over untaken holiday into subsequent years if they have lost the chance to take paid holiday because of sickness absence or maternity/parental leave. The proposal is to limit carried-over holiday for sickness absence to the four weeks' compulsory paid leave under the Working Time Directive (ie the employee would lose the extra 1.6 weeks they receive, above EU minimum requirements, under the WTR). The government is also considering proposals to allow employers to 'buy out' that extra 1.6 weeks
  • Equal Pay: introducing a duty for employment tribunals to require employers to conduct a pay audit if they have been found guilty of breaching equal pay legislation, unless it is not productive to do so.

The consultation closes on 8th August 2011.