There has also been lots of discussion, rumour and confusion regarding flexible working, on which the Government continues its consultation. To date, the emphasis has been on the following key proposals:
Flexible Parental Leave: this proposal is subject to a ‘caveat of affordability’ and will be introduced in April 2015 and includes unpaid leave for fathers to attend anti-natal appointments, and an 18-week period of maternity leave for mothers, followed by a 34-week period of shared parental leave.
Flexible Working: when and how an employee can request flexible working is also set to change and the proposals are going to extend to all employees with 26 weeks’ continuous employment, plus a requirement that employers will have to consider any such request reasonably.
Holiday Buy-Back: the government has proposed increasing employers’ flexibility on annual leave by allowing them to buy out up to eight days annual leave entitlement and require employees to carry over a part of eight days leave if there is a genuine overriding business need. Depending on how the Government wishes to implement this, employers may still be constricted by employees existing contractual terms. Once we get a definitive announcement from the Government, Stone Rowe Brewer LLP will be happy to assist in amending or drawing up new contracts for your staff.
We will update you on further Employment Law developments in future news updates, however, if you would like to discuss how these proposed changes could impact your business, and the best ways to prepare for them, please contact Sarah Smith on 020 8891 6141.