19 May 2011 #Employment
You may have already seen our blog this week about the government proposals to introduce flexible parental leave. This is part of a consultation document entitled ‘Consultation on Modern Workplaces` launched by the Department for BIS and is not the only radical proposal for reform. This proposal and others include the following:
Flexible parental leave - retaining 18 weeks` maternity leave for mothers and reclassifying the remaining leave as ‘parental leave` to be taken by either the mother or father or both. Either way, most of it will be paid. Further, to allow it to be broken into blocks or on a part-time basis.
Flexible working - Extending the right to request flexible working to ALL employees i.e. not just those with children under 17 (or 18 for those with disabled children).
Working time regulations (WTR) - To amend the WTR in line with ECJ caselaw. Employers will no doubt be familiar with the ECJ case of Stringer which provided that under the Working Time Directive (WTD) employees can carry over untaken holiday into subsequent years if they have been unable to take paid holiday because of sickness absence. The amount of holiday which could be carried over would be limited to the four weeks` compulsory paid leave under the WTD. Thus employees would lose the additional 1.6 weeks they currently receive, above EU minimum requirements, under the WTR.
Equal Pay - Giving employment tribunal powers to order employers to conduct and publish the results of a pay audit if they have been found guilty of breaching equal pay legislation. An exception would be if it was not productive to do so.
The consultation runs from 16 May to 8 August 2011. Further information, to include the consultation document, can be found here http://www.bis.gov.uk/modernworkplaces.