Huge law changes to give new parents extra paid time off and protection from redundancy
NEW parents and carers are getting extra protections in the workplace, including the right to more paid leave and backup support.
Three new government bills received royal assent yesterday, May 24, as the final step before they become law.
The first bill would allow working parents with children to receive infant care for up to 12 weeks of paid infant care leave.
This will come with other paid leave and benefits such as maternity and paternity, and help parents stay with their children.
Second, the contingency rules will be expanded to include pregnancy and a period of time after parents return to work.
Current rules only protect people on maternity leave, adoption leave and parental leave.
However, it remains unclear how long parents will be protected once they return to work.
Finally, unpaid carers will have the right to claim one week of flexible unpaid leave a year, helping people who work and care for dependents with long-term care needs at the same time.
The government has said it will introduce secondary legislation in “the right order”, but has yet to confirm how long it will take.
The rules come after research by the Equality and Human Rights Commission found one in nine mothers were fired, forced to redundancy or treated so badly they felt they had to quit.
Charities are also calling for more support for the millions of unpaid carers in the UK.
Business Secretary Kevin Hollinrake said: “We know how stressful it can be for a parent caring for a newborn or someone trying to juggle work with caregiving responsibilities, and the extra safeguards This will ensure they get the support they need.
“Over the past year, we have demonstrated our commitment to supporting workers across the UK, including by raising living wages nationally to the highest levels.”
In other worker rule changes, more than a million workers are set to receive a pay rise of £200 each.
In addition, another 1.6 million workers will benefit from the holiday pay change.
Thousands of new mothers on maternity leave also received bumper pay increases in April.
What is maternity pay and how much do I get?
When you take time off work to have a baby, you may be eligible for statutory maternity benefits and statutory maternity pay.
This means you will be able to take time off work and be paid a certain amount by your employer.
It is worth remembering that there is a difference between Maternity Leave and Maternity Pay.
Maternity leave is the amount of time you can take off to care for your baby, and maternity pay is the amount you can get when you’re not working.
The statutory maternity leave period is 52 weeks. It is made up of:
- Regular maternity leave – the first 26 weeks
- Additional maternity leave – last 26 weeks
You don’t have to take 52 weeks off, but you do have to take two weeks off after giving birth (or four weeks if you work in a factory).
Usually, the earliest you can start taking leave is 11 weeks before your due week.
Statutory maternity pay is the amount of cash you’re paid when you’re not working.
The amount you are paid during maternity is not the same as when you are working.
You can get paid for up to 39 weeks. You get:
- 90% of your average weekly earnings (before taxes) for the first six weeks.
- £172.48 or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is less) for the next 33 weeks.
SMPs are paid the same as your salary (e.g. monthly or weekly). Taxes and National Insurance will be deducted.
To be eligible for statutory maternity leave, you must be a workers and you must give your employer correct notice.
You must also:
There are also rules you must follow about how to claim maternity and paid leave, such as showing proof you are pregnant and telling your employer.