Skip to main content

Conditions of Employment

Volume 501: debated on Wednesday 25 November 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what family-friendly working policies his Department and its predecessors have implemented in each of the last 10 years. (300408)

The information is as follows:


Parental leave: New right introduced. Parents with one year’s continuous service entitled to 13 weeks’ unpaid leave up to the child’s fifth birthday for children born or placed for adoption on or after 15 December 1999.

Time off for dependants: all employees entitled to a reasonable amount of unpaid time off work to deal with certain emergencies involving a dependant.


Maternity leave: Maternity leave extended so that all employed women became entitled to 18 weeks’ ordinary maternity leave. Women with one year’s service entitled to additional maternity leave up to 29 weeks after baby’s birth. Benefited women whose babies were due on or after 30 April 2000.

Maternity pay: Maternity allowance extended to women earning £30 per week.


Parental leave: right extended to parents of all children under five on 15 December 1999; period of parental leave extended to 18 weeks for parents of disabled children.


Maternity leave: ordinary maternity leave extended to 26 weeks. Additional maternity leave extended to 26 weeks following on from ordinary maternity leave. Qualifying service for additional maternity leave reduced to 26 weeks.

Maternity pay: Statutory maternity pay and maternity allowance extended to 26 weeks.

Paternity leave: fathers/partners of pregnant women entitled to two weeks leave with statutory paternity pay at the same rate as statutory maternity pay.

Adoption leave: adopters entitled to 52 weeks’ leave with statutory adoption pay at the same rate as statutory maternity pay.

Right to request flexible working: parents with caring responsibilities for children under six (or 18, if disabled) entitled to request flexible working pattern from employers.


Maternity leave: Qualifying service for additional maternity leave removed.

Pay: Payment period of statutory maternity pay, statutory adoption pay and maternity allowance extended to 39 weeks.

Encouraging communication: women and employers can make reasonable contact during maternity leave; keeping in touch days introduced so women and employers can agree that women will work up to 10 day during maternity leave without losing any pay or ending her leave.

Guidance: Pregnancy and Work leaflet set out key information for women and employers; online tools help women and employers understand rights/responsibilities.

Support for employers: notice period for women changing plans for return from maternity leave extended from four to eight weeks; administration of SMP, SAP and SPP simplified.


Right to request flexible working: extended to carers of certain adults from April 2007.


Contractual benefits during maternity leave: entitlement to receive contractual benefits extended so that mothers entitled to non-paid rights or other work-related benefits throughout the 26 weeks of additional maternity leave.


Right to request flexible working: extended to those with parental responsibility of children aged 16 and under.