The government has announced that:

  • the right to request flexible working will be extended to parents with children under 18 (increased from 17) from April 2011. It will consult on extending the right to all employees later this year.
  • the new right to additional paternity leave, introduced by the last government for parents of children due on or after 3 April 2011, will remain in force. Fathers will be able to take paternity leave equivalent to the period of additional maternity leave unused by the mother.

This will only be for an interim period, as the government intends to consult on a new system of flexible parental leave later this year. Many employers have been holding off on amending maternity and paternity policies in light of earlier suggestions that the government might seek to avoid two sets of changes. They will now need to act quickly to ensure policies are updated.

  • the right to make a request for time off to train or study is under review. The right came into force for employers with at least 250 employees in April 2010, and was due to be extended to smaller employers in April 2011. Last month the Government carried out a short consultation on whether to retain, amend or extend the right. Its response is expected in December 2010.