NUJ "broadly welcomes" new flexible working rights
13 November 2012
Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister, has announced reforms that will allow parents to share up to a year's leave after the birth of a child.
Lena Calvert, NUJ equality officer, said:
The NUJ broadly welcomes the government's announcement today on the extension to the right to request flexible working to all employees and the proposed changes to flexible parental leave. This will allow parents to decide how they will look after their new-born child including the new right to take time off together. It is good to see that adoption leave will be equalised up to maternity leave provisions. It is a pity that the paid paternity section of this leave will remain at two weeks.
"We will be watching how the Government intends to replace the statutory procedure governing how requests for flexible working are handled, as it is clear that not all employers are keen to embrace this new initiative. Even though all employees will have the right to request flexible working from 2014, it will still remain only a right to ask."
The Government plans to legislate on this next year and will introduce the changes to flexible working in 2014 and to flexible parental leave in 2015. Under the new system, parents will be able to choose how they share the care of their child. Employed mothers will still be entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave.
Mr Clegg said that working parents will have much greater flexibility about how they 'mix and match' their leave. They may take it in turns or take it together, providing it is not more than 52 weeks in total.
There will be a further consultation in January on the administrative detail of how the leave system is going to work, covering issues such as notice periods and co-ordinating with employers, which will be in secondary legislation. The ACAS Code of Practice on flexible working will be also consulted on next year.
The NUJ is putting its weight behind a campaign by Maternity Action, a pressure group calling for:
- Job security for all women during pregnancy and maternity
- Maternity and parental leave that promotes real equality
- Services to support a safe and healthy pregnancy