The government has published the Children and Families Bill which includes provisions aimed at supporting working parents in balancing home and work life. This follows the government's response to its "Modern Workplaces" consultation in November 2012.

The key provisions for employers are:

  • a new system of shared parental leave following childbirth or adoption;
  • a new right for employees and qualifying agency workers to take unpaid time off work to attend up to two antenatal appointments with a pregnant woman; and
  • an extension of the right to request flexible working to all employees.

These provisions will be introduced by amendments to the Employment Rights Act 1996 with further details contained in as-yet unpublished regulations.