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Children and Families Bill

Volume 559: debated on Monday 25 February 2013

Today the Government have launched a consultation on the detailed administration of shared parental leave and pay. Shared parental leave and pay will enable working parents to choose how to share leave and pay between them to create the best outcomes for them as a family. This is a radical change in the provision of leave and pay for parents around the birth of the child. We are keen to ensure that the new system works for employers as well as for employees.

This consultation will deliver the detail that business and families are waiting for on how these new proposals will work. This consultation is about getting the detail right so we can deliver a workable system of shared parental leave and pay.

The Government are consulting on the details of:

Whether it would be beneficial to align the notice periods to inform employers of the intention to take paternity leave and pay;

Eligibility criteria for shared parental leave;

Notice to bring to an end maternity leave and maternity pay, or allowance, if accompanied by a notification of intention to access the shared parental system;

Whether parents should have one year from the start of maternity leave or one year from the child’s birth date to use the shared parental leave and pay;

How employment protections on the right to return to the same job, should work for shared parental leave;

How notification to employers will work with the new “fostering for adoption” arrangements.

In addition ACAS is also today launching a consultation on a code of practice for the right to request flexible working. Under proposals included in the Children and Families Bill, the right to request flexible working will be extended to all employees who have worked for their employer for 26 weeks or more. Employers are obliged to consider all requests in a reasonable manner.

The current statutory procedure will be repealed and the Government have asked ACAS to produce a code of practice to help businesses manage this new extended right. ACAS will also produce non statutory good practice guide with practical examples of managing this in the workplace. This will be published alongside the code. Taken together, these measures will deliver on several important commitments in the coalition agreement.

Copies of the consultation document will be placed in the House Libraries.