Eligible employees (fathers, partners and civil partners of children due on or after 3 April 2011) will be entitled to additional paternity leave and pay (‘APL&P’). On 30 September 2010, the coalition Government announced that it would retain the APL&P legislation. It gives a right to eligible employees of a minimum of two weeks’ and a maximum of 26 weeks’ leave to care for a child, if the child’s mother returns to work without exercising her full entitlement to maternity leave. Some of the leave may be paid if it is taken during the mother’s maternity pay period. See a summary of the key details in InBrief Volume 3, No. 1 Spring.
Action required & key considerations
It is clear that the APL&P legislation has made the coalition cut—at least for now. Therefore, employers need to review their maternity, paternity and family friendly policies as these babies are already on the way. Employers will also have to grapple with some problematic areas such as the operation of enhanced maternity pay schemes, the impact on redundancy exercises and scorings, costs of providing enhanced benefits for all employees, pay rises, bonuses and pensions.
For example, is an employer required to offer a male employee equivalent enhanced benefits such as pay for the duration of the additional paternity leave period if a female employee is already entitled to enhanced maternity leave benefits? Arguably yes, if you draw an analogy with the recent ECJ case of Roca Alvarez v Sesa Start Espana ETT SA.