The government has launched a consultation seeking views on proposals to better support parents to balance work and family-life. The key proposals / considerations of the consultation relate to reforming the current system of family-related leave and pay, a new right to neonatal leave and pay, and greater transparency by employers of flexible working and family-related leave and pay policies.
Reform of family-related leave and pay
The consultation does not set out any suggested proposals but seeks views on the benefits, costs and trade-offs to reforming the current system to meet the government's aims of giving families more flexibility, increasing paternal involvement in childcare and supporting mothers to return and remain in work. This consultation closes on 29 November 2019.
New right to neonatal leave
A proposed new right for parents of babies requiring more than two continuous weeks in neonatal care following birth to receive one week of neonatal leave and pay for every week that their baby is in neonatal care, up to a maximum number of weeks. This would effectively extend statutory maternity, paternity or adoption leave by the duration of neonatal leave. It is proposed that the right to neonatal leave will be a "day 1 right" i.e., there is no qualifying period of employment before the right is available, although the entitlement to neonatal pay will be the same as that for statutory paternity pay and shared parental pay. This consultation closes on 11 October 2019.
Transparency: Flexible working and family-related leave and pay policies
This consultation takes forward the commitment made by the government in October 2018 to consider creating a duty for all employers to assess whether a job can be done flexibly and make that clear when advertising; and to consult on requiring employers with more than 250 employees to publish their parental (family-related) leave and pay policies to align with the overarching approach to gender pay gap reporting.
The consultation seeks views on whether employers should be required to publish their family leave and pay, and flexible working policies on their website (or a central website like the gender pay gap portal) and whether it should be a mandatory duty to publish this information.
In respect of the proposal to introduce a requirement on employers to specify in job adverts whether the job could be done flexibly, the consultation is also seeking views on what information would need to be put in the job advert and how, and by whom, it should be enforced.
This consultation closes on 11 October 2019.