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The Government has fleshed out the details of how it proposes to fulfill its commitment to make it easier for both parents to go out to work and still be fully involved in the lives of their children. It has published the Children and Families Bill, to implement the proposals.

Children and Families Bill

The Bill includes provision for a system of shared parental leave, and also extends the right to request flexible working to all employees.

The Government had sought views on its proposals as part of its Modern Workplaces consultation, which ran from May to August 2011.

It published its response to the consultation in November 2012, and announced its intention to legislate on the matter in 2013 - with the aim of introducing the changes to flexible working in 2014 and those for shared parental leave in 2015.

Shared parental leave

The reforms relating to shared parental leave are designed to give parents greater flexibility about how they ‘mix and match’ the care of their child.

Under the new provisions:

  • Employed mothers will still be entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave as a day one right.
  • Mothers can choose to end their maternity leave after the initial two week recovery period; working parents can then decide how they want to share the remaining leave.
  • Fathers will gain a new right to take unpaid leave to attend two antenatal appointments.
  • There will be a new statutory payment for parents on shared parental leave with the same qualifying requirements that currently apply to statutory maternity and paternity pay.
  • Those who have adopted a child will be entitled to the same pay and leave as birth parents.

Flexible working

Flexible working has been criticised in the past because the right to request it was only available to parents and carers. The Government intends to remove this restriction by extending the right to request flexible working to all employees, which will allow them to manage their work alongside other commitments they might have.

The Government will also be removing the statutory procedure that employers currently have to follow when considering a flexible working request. Under the Bill, employers will be required to consider all requests in a reasonable manner.

Promoting equality

Business Minister Jo Swinson believes that the provisions of the Bill will be a positive move for equality in the workplace, as they will make it easier for working mothers to stay in the workforce, rather than having to drop out once they start a family.

She also claims that it will be good for business, as it will create a more motivated, flexible and talented workforce.

Overcoming cultural barriers

Ms Swinson acknowledges that there may be some cultural barriers to be overcome as employers and employees adjust to these changes, but believes that the workplace will soon adapt.

“Employers will soon get used to more men taking time off after their child is born and more mothers returning to work earlier, shattering the perception that it is mainly a woman’s role to stay at home and look after the child,” she explained. “These measures will really help our aim of ensuring more businesses are making best use of women’s talents throughout the organisation, from the boardroom to the shop floor.”

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v1.0.

 

Stress had a noticeable impact on businesses in 2012, according to more than two fifths (42%) of senior managers from small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) surveyed for global insurer Zurich's latest quarterly SME Risk Index.

According to a fifth (19%) of SMEs surveyed, workforce absence levels have risen over the past two years, with 12% reporting more short-term stress-related absences of less than four weeks in the last year.

And when the results for small (10-49 employees) and medium-sized (50-249 employees) enterprises are looked at separately, absence levels for the past two years are up by 27% for small companies and 30% for medium ones,  suggesting that the impact of stress on absence could be an increasing worry as businesses become larger and more established.

A quarter (25%) of SMEs surveyed also reported lower morale amongst their employees due to workforce stress in 2012, with this again rising to 27% & 39% amongst small and medium businesses respectively.

However there is some optimism about the year ahead, with the prospect of a stronger economic environment (33%) and expansion of business in the UK (29%) being cited as the two biggest opportunities for 2013.

Abusive bosses who target employees with ridicule, public criticism, and the silent treatment not only have a detrimental effect on the employees they bully, but they negatively impact the work environment for the co-workers of those employees who suffer from “second-hand” or vicarious abusive supervision.

Fatherhood pay bonus revealed

Posted by on in Discrimination

Despite the many advances made towards the removal of the gender pay gap, the decision to have a child can still have a significant impact on the wages of parents.

Collective redundancy changes

Posted by on in Redundancy

Changes to collective redundancy rules have been announced by Employment Relations Minister, Jo Swinson.

A new survey from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) shows that over half of employers (54%) plan to increase their permanent workforce in the next three months, while 49% see their permanent workforce growing in the long term.

Cyberbullying – using modern communications technology such as e-mails, texts or web-postings to abuse people - is as common in the workplace as ‘conventional’ bullying. Yet, the way cyberbullying influences both the victim and witnesses are more hidden in the workplace according to new research by occupational psychologists.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has intervened in a case before the UK’s Supreme Court to argue that volunteers should be given protection against discrimination.

The UK’s demand for a flexible workforce remains strong, according to new evidence from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation’s (REC) latest JobsOutlook survey, a monthly poll of employer hiring intentions.

The Government has published a consultation setting out plans for a new employment status called an ‘employee owner’. The move follows the Chancellor’s announcement on 8th October and will provide companies with a new option to increase the flexibility of how they hire people and help their companies grow.

The Law Society has warned that removing certain provisions from the Equality Act will not help employers. The warning comes after the government published a series of amendments to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill this week.

A recent poll by YouGov has found that 63% of British people don't support the Government's proposal for owner-employee schemes.

Increasing amounts of regulation can lock people out of the workforce and so a different approach is needed for small and large firms, say the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). Small firms bear a disproportionate amount of the regulatory burden, particularly around ever-changing employment legislation.

The CBI has set out its analysis of the impact of the Agency Workers Regulations (AWRs) a year after they came into force, and its priorities for the upcoming Government review of the regulations.

The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) has warned that lack of investment in management skills means many employers are missing out on the business benefits of flexible working.

The Ministry of Justice has published statistics on Employment Tribunal (ET) and Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) activity for the period 1st April 2011 to 31st March 2012.

Aviva’s annual Health of the Workplace report has revealed that companies are already starting to see a change in their workforce demographics, prompting fears that ageing workforce health issues will affect their company.

The Government has published proposed employment law changes that aim to simplify and speed up the process of ending the employment relationship when it breaks down, for the benefit of both employers and employees.

With unemployment expected to remain unchanged at 8%, new findings from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) show just how vital small firms are to the recovery, as 88% of unemployed people that find jobs in the private sector either start up or work for an SME.

Despite uncertainty in the job market, the top reasons working Americans say they stay with their current employers are work-life fit and enjoying what they do, according to a recent survey by the American Psychological Association (APA). Fewer employees cited concrete reasons for remaining on the job, such as benefits, pay and a lack of other job opportunities.

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