Family Friendly Policies

28 Mar
by Donna Obstfeld, posted in Blog, Employment, Employment Legislation, Flexi-time, Flexible working, gender, Home-workers, HR Policy, HR Support, Human Resources, Job Sharing, Maternity, Part-time Workers Act, Paternity, people management, Policies and Procedures, reduced hours, Video, Vlog   |  No Comments

A full set of policies around maternity, paternity and adoption leave and pay need to be developed so that employees feel valued and their skills are not lost from the business, but so that they business is able to function effectively with short and long term absences as a result of the prospective and actual birth of a baby.

The law provides for statutory time off and pay, but companies can provide more or structure things differently.



Father’s Day –Pay Some Attention to Dads!

07 Jun
by Donna Obstfeld, posted in Blog, Employees, Mediation, Paternity   |  2 Comments

Father’s Day is just around the corner, for those of you who haven’t marked it in your diary in a giant red circle – it’s Sunday 17th June.  Make sure you spoil Dads and Carers – because I think they often get left out of any celebrations!  Notoriously, did you know that Father’s Day is actually the least important event in retailers’ calendars? No, it’s not the retailers’ fault, it’s as simple as this; consumers don’t spend as much on Dads as they do Mums, Valentines and even Halloween.

While I was thinking about my own preparations for Father’s Day it got me contemplating Dads in the workplace. Becoming a parent is no doubt one of the most exciting things that can happen to someone, if not THE most exciting thing.  There’s so much to think about, all that baby shopping, decorating a nursery, obviously names and also the well-being of Mum, so Dad’s needs sometimes may be again, left a bit further down the list!  As Dad’s are often a little neglected I thought it would be useful to re-cap on paternity leave and pay policy.

Legislation didn’t come in just to make life easier for new Mums,  it came about to allow Dads to have special time to bond with the new addition.  Whilst it will take a few years (probably around 15), the new addition will one day thank Dad for all his love and care – with a Father’s Day gift of course!

So what rights do Fathers have?

Fathers and Partners who have at least 26 weeks of service 15 weeks prior to the Expected Date of Confinement (EDC) are entitled to two weeks of paternity leave.  This period of time is called Ordinary Paternity Leave and must be taken within 56 days of the birth or adoption of a child. Officially this is paid at the statutory rate (currently £135.45 – subject to qualification), however many companies will pay this at full pay. In addition, new fathers can add annual leave (full pay) or up to 4 weeks parental leave (unpaid) to their ordinary paternity leave period.  

In addition, for fathers of babies born after 3rd April 2011, there is an entitlement of up to 26 weeks Additional Paternity Leave (APL). This must be taken between 20 and 52 weeks after the birth and the mother must have returned to work. Any of the mother’s SMP remaining can be transferred to the father. Legislation currently provides for APL to be paid at the statutory rate, but a word of caution here …. Regardless of the policy at the mother’s company, If you provide enhanced Maternity Pay to your female workforce, not providing this to your male workforce could lead to discrimination claims. This is as yet unproven in court, but a case in Spain indicates that this would hold up.

There are several other considerations for employers when developing Paternity Policies:

– Consideration needs to be given to the way in which time off for ante natal appointments such as scans are managed. There is currently no obligation on employers to allow leave for this purpose. The same is the case for consultants’ appointments and ante natal classes. However, allowing time off for women and not for men may increasingly be seen as discriminatory and may impact on motivation and productivity.

– A same sex partner is just as entitled to paternity leave and pay as any other partner. In the case of adoption, the same rules also apply.

– Every year, the Government reviews the weekly amounts of SMP/SAP and SPP so the amounts in this blog are subject to change!

However companies decide to manage paternity and parental issues in their workplace, there is a need for compliance. Companies must document their policy, communicate it and apply it consistently. The policy should respect the law, but also reflect the type of company you are (or want to be). If you are a family orientated organisation, then you may choose to have your policy reflect that. If you want to encourage great employee relations, trust, respect and appreciation for you as an employer, then getting your policies aligned to your culture and ethos is a great way to do it.

For more information on what we do and how we can help, please call us on 01923 504100 for a free, no obligations chat. Alternatively, email us or fill in the form on the ‘contact us’ page of our website and someone will give you a call.

Mum vs. Dad

15 Apr
by Donna Obstfeld, posted in HR Policy, leave, Paternity, pay   |  1 Comments

We all know that mum is entitled to maternity leave and pay, and that (if we are truthful with ourselves) in the past potential employers have chosen male over female applicants so as to avoid having to cope with maternity rights.

Now the game changes. New Dads are entitled to up to six months paternity leave AND PAY if mum has returned to work early. Unlike flexible working, the obligation is not to consider but to provide.

If you pay enhanced maternity pay to your female employees then, although not required by law yet, the likelihood is that you will need to treat your male employees equally and that they too should benefit from any enhanced payment schemes.

How will your business cope with this new legislation? What steps have you taken to implement these changes?

Actions for companies are to ensure you have a policy in place for paternity leave and pay and a process which enables notification, planning and business continuity.

Don’t wait until a Dad to be forces the issue. Plan ahead so that your response meets your legal requirements and your business needs.

Do you employ men?

14 Jan
by Donna Obstfeld, posted in HR, HR Consultancy, HR Support, Maternity, Paternity, pay   |  No Comments

Although we like to think it is a thing of the past, clients still tell me that they are scared to employ young females in case they get pregnant. They don’t want the upheaval or the costs associated with maternity leave such as finding and training temporary staff or loosing key skills and knowledge.

However, from April, the law changes and employers could face these issues when employing either female or male staff.

From April parents will be able to share the maternity leave with fathers allowed up to six months off (providing mum has gone back to work). This time off is paid at Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) rates, currently £124.88 per week.

Although legislation provides SPP, it is expected that in business and organisations where enhanced maternity pay is available, by not offering the enhancement to fathers, employers may be in breach of discrimination laws around gender. In these cases, employers may have to amend their policies to provide for enhanced paternity pay.

So, unlike parental leave which is unpaid and therefore not particularly attractive, it is anticipated that there will be greater take up of extended paternity leave. This may particularly be the case if the mother earns more money than the father, or the father works for an organisation which pays enhance paternity pay and the mother does not.

So, is this a change for the better or the worse? Well, I guess that depends on your point of view!!