Flexible working and parental rights
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Understanding employees’ rights is essential if you are to maintain good working relationships and avoid claims against you. As an employer, you are legally required to seriously consider requests from certain employees for flexible working patterns.
A request for flexible working might include a change to flexitime, part-time, working from home or some other arrangement. Bear in mind any flexible working arrangement that you agree to is likely to become part of an employee’s contractual terms, unless you specifically agree a temporary or trial arrangement.
Employees also have statutory entitlements to maternity, paternity and adoption leave, with parents (of underage children) and carers also entitled to take unpaid parental leave or care leave and are legally entitled to have a request for flexible working considered.
You can only refuse the request for limited business reasons: for example, because the proposed flexible working arrangements would be too expensive or harm business performance. If you do not want to agree to a request for flexible working, you must ensure that you follow the right procedures and give a valid reason.
Maternity and paternity
All pregnant employees are entitled to maternity leave and most will qualify for statutory maternity pay, while most new fathers are entitled to paternity leave and paternity pay. Similar entitlements apply for employees who adopt a child.
Contact our employment law team for assistance with flexible working or parental rights.