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Family Friendly Consultations: Have your Say

Last month the Government began consulting on their Good Work Plan: Proposals to Support Families’. They are seeking views on proposals to better support parents to balance work and family-life. Sections 2 and 3 (neonatal and transparency) close on 11 October and the full consultation closes at 11:45pm on 29 November 2019.

Its ‘Good Work Plan’ drawing on the 2017 Taylor Review aimed to balance flexibility for employers with fairness for employees. This is the next step.

The world of work has changed radically in the past decade – we can probably all note the differences! It has been transformed by technology, the ability to work for anyone from anywhere,  the ‘gig economy’ where short-term engagements, temporary contracts, and independent contracting is commonplace. Plus, both men and women making decisions to take up flexible working in order to manage the family commitments.

Among the Good Work Plan proposals were:

  • From April 2020, all workers (not just employees) have a right to a written statement of terms from their first day of employment. Additional information will be needed including how long the job is expected to last, details of all remuneration due (not just pay), the specific days and times workers are expected to work and other rights to paid leave, such as maternity leave
  • How holiday pay is calculated
  • The right to ask for ‘stable and predictable’ contracts

In this latest consultation they are seeking responses that will give them further information on:

  • The costs and benefits of different options for reforming parental leave to achieve greater equality in parenting and at work
  • How new leave and pay entitlements can support parents of sick and premature babies
  • Whether employers with more than 250 employees should be required to publish their family-related leave and pay policies, and in which format
  • Whether employers should make clear when advertising a vacancy if flexible working might be available

Some of the issues they are consulting on will only be achieved in conjunction with their other policies such as reducing the gender pay gap – another stepping stone in the Government’s ‘Gender Equality in the Workplace’ push. In fact the recently published Gender Equality Roadmap commits to legislating on enhancing redundancy protection for pregnant employees and new parents.

Responses are being sought in October and November so it is unlikely that we’ll have any updates for clients in the near future, but if you have any questions about making changes to your family friendly policies or your legal obligations with regards to flexible working, get in touch with us and we would be delighted to advise you.

Call us on 01803 861086 or email wendy@harrislawsouthwest.co.uk