The government has just announced its new family-friendly proposals, following extensive consultation. They will appear in the Works and Families Bill, to be published soon.
The new / changed laws will be:
- extending Statutory Maternity Pay and Maternity Allowance to nine months from April 2007 with the ambition of moving to a year by the end of the Parliament;
- a power to introduce new paternity leave for fathers, enabling them to benefit from leave and statutory pay if the mother returns to work after six months but before the end of her maternity leave period;
- extending the right to request flexible working to carers from April 2007;
- measures to help businesses manage the administration of Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Paternity Pay and Statutory Adoption Pay;
- introducing 'keeping in touch'days so that where employees and employers agree, a women on maternity leave can go into work for a few days, without losing her right to maternity leave or a week's statutory pay;
- extending the period of notice for return from maternity leave to two months enabling employees and employers to more effectively plan for return to work;
- making clear in the regulations that employers can make reasonable contact with their employees on maternity leave to help employers plan and ease the mother's return to work.
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