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Maternity, Paternity & Family Rights Lawyers for Employees & Executives

The City’s financial institutions are not known for their family-friendly, nine to five culture, but there is a raft of legislation that provides rights in respect of maternity, paternity and family responsibilities. The key rights are those which provide for maternity leave, paternity leave, and the right to take time off to care for dependents.

Our specialist employment solicitors, based in London, can help you if you are a senior-level employee with a maternity, paternity or family rights workplace legal issue. 

100% Success Rate in Contentious Cases for both Employees & Employers

Contact our employment lawyers on 02071674800 or contact us online.

Pregnancy and Maternity Rights under UK Employment Law

Pregnant women are entitled to 52 weeks’ Statutory Maternity Leave if they give the correct notice to the employer. They don't have to take 52 weeks if they don't want to, but the first two weeks following the birth must be taken.

Of the 52 weeks, 39 may be paid. Pay will either be Statutory Maternity Pay, Maternity Allowance or contractual maternity pay. It’s worth noting that contractual pay may be more than statutory pay and is sometimes paid for more than 39 weeks. The details of this should be your employment contract. There are complex rules to be followed in respect of giving your employer notice that you are pregnant, and wish to take maternity leave.

Pregnant employees benefit from enhanced protection from unfair treatment and discrimination, and are entitled to reasonable paid time off for antenatal care. Expectant fathers or partners of a pregnant woman have the right to take time off to attend two antenatal appointments.

Women returning to work following Maternity Leave have the right to return to their original job or suitable alternative.

During maternity leave you and your employer can agree to up to ten Keeping In Touch (KIT) days. These are days on which you attend the workplace, and they can be important because they enable you to feel you’re still part of the workplace. You don’t have a legal right to be paid for KIT days, but many employers pay staff for them.

Employers are legally obliged to take into account any health and safety risks to new and expectant mothers and should carry out a proper Risk Assessment in respect of the woman and baby. Risks could include long working hours, which are the norm in the City. They might also include heavy lifting or carrying, standing or sitting for long period without adequate breaks, and exposure to toxic substances.

If the risk cannot be avoided, the employer must take steps to eliminate the risk or offer alternative suitable work (with no less favourable terms and conditions). If no suitable alternative work is available, the employer must suspend the expectant mother on full pay for as long as necessary to protect her health and safety or that of her baby.

A women made redundant while on maternity leave must be offered any suitable alternative vacancy, without having to apply for it.

Paternity Rights UK

Employees may be entitled to Paternity Leave and Pay if their partner is having a baby, adopting a child or having a baby through a surrogacy arrangement.

Paternity leave is available to employees who have or expect to have responsibility for the child's upbringing, are the biological father of the child or are the mother's husband or partner, and who have worked continuously for their employer for 41 weeks before the baby is due.

To exercise this right you have to tell your employer that you wish to take paternity leave no later than the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth. You should make clear when the baby is due, whether you're going to take one or two weeks off, and when you expect paternity leave to start. Those who are eligible can choose to take either one week or two consecutive weeks' paid paternity leave.

You may be entitled to Statutory Paternity Pay. From 2 April 2017, the rate will be the lower of £140.98 per week or 90% of your average weekly earnings.

Shared Parental Leave and pay

Shared Parental Leave allows eligible mothers, fathers, partners and adopters to choose how to share time off work in the first year after their child is born or adopted. It enables eligible parents to share the caring evenly or have one parent taking the main caring role. This can involve returning to work for part of the time and then resuming leave at a later date.

Parents are able to share a pot of leave, and can decide to be off work at the same time and/or take it in turns to have periods of leave to look after the child.

Time off for dependants

All employees have a legal right to a “reasonable” amount of time off to deal with emergencies involving a dependant (TOFD). The time off is unpaid unless your employer has granted contractual paid time off. A dependant is someone who depends on you for care. It is intended to deal with unforeseen matters and emergencies.

A dependant could be a spouse, partner, child, parent, or, potentially, an elderly neighbour with no family.

Examples of when TOFD is appropriate include:

  • Dealing with a breakdown in childcare,
  • Arranging longer-term care for children or elderly relatives,
  • Dealing with a seriously ill dependant,
  • Arranging or attending a funeral.

In most cases a day or two will be sufficient to deal with the crisis, but it will depend on the individual circumstances. You must tell your employer as soon as possible why you are off, and how long you expect to be absent.

Contact our Specialist Employment Lawyers for Maternity, Paternity & Family Rights Legal Advice

Senior executives, particularly in the financial services industry, often face major challenges when disputes relating to their employment or discrimination arise. The rewards for success in the City are great, but, as many have found to their cost, failure to hit huge targets or impress the right people can lead to brutal departures without warning. And in some instances, women have discovered they have been hired as bait to lure wealthy investors. Those who’ve refused to play the game have often found themselves on a fast-track out of a job. If you have such an issue, we can help you. 

Contact our employment lawyers on 02071674800 or contact us online.


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