An employee can take reasonable time off on an unpaid basis for family emergencies
involving their dependants. The definition of “family emergency” covers dependants
having accidents or falling ill, or unexpected problems with arrangements for caring
for dependants who are their direct family such as children, parents and anyone living
in their household.
Any employee who is a parent or guardian of a child under 17 (or 18 if the child
is disabled), may apply for flexible working. The employer has to consider
the Application and follow a formal process in deciding whether to approve the
Parental unpaid leave
An employee can apply for up to 18 weeks unpaid leave if they have a child under
5 (or 18 if the child is entitled to disability living allowance). There are procedures to follow in relation to giving your employer sufficient
notice of the leave and the employee has to have been employed for a period of 1
Paternity leave paid
An employee can take up to 2 weeks Statutory Paternity Leave within 8 weeks of the
birth or adoption of the child. The payment is at the Statutory Maternity Pay (“SMP”)
rate. The employer must be given 15 weeks notice
of the employee’s intent to take this leave.
The current rate of SMP and SPP is £135.45 per week.
In all these cases if an employee is subject to victimisation for exercising their
rights, they can lodge a claim at the Employment Tribunal. Any claim must be lodged
within 3 months of the last act complained of.
Firstly, an employee does not have a right to paid statutory maternity leave unless
they have been an employee for at least 26 weeks at the 15th week prior to the week
of the expected date of childbirth. The expected due date is the date identified
in the MATB1 form provided by the midwife. The employee must also be above the lower
earnings limit which varies from time-to-time. This means that if a woman changes
her job she will lose her maternity leave rights to SMP for a period when she takes
up a new job.
The employee does not have to notify the employer until she receives her MATB1, which
is 26 weeks prior to the week of confinement. The employee can chose when to start
her maternity leave any time up to and including the week of confinement unless she
becomes ill within 6 weeks prior to the expected week of childbirth, in which case
her maternity leave will automatically commence.
Maternity pay for SMP is based on 6 weeks at 90% of her normal pay and up to 33 weeks
at the SMP rate of £136.78. She can then take a further 13 weeks unpaid leave.
If the employee is not eligible for SMP she may be eligible for Maternity Allowance,
which is payable by the State directly. Alternatively, she can apply for income