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Children and Families Act 2014 receives Royal Assent

The Children and Families Act 2014 has received Royal Assent and we now have confirmation of when the changes to flexible working, time off for antenatal appointments and shared parental leave are coming into force.

Extended right to request flexible working – 30 June 2014

All employees with 26 weeks’ service will have the right to request flexible working, for any reason. There will be no obligation to agree to a request, just to consider it.

The current statutory procedure for dealing with requests is being abolished. Instead, employers will be able to use their own HR processes, provided requests are dealt with reasonably and decided on within three months (unless an extension is agreed). As is the case now, employers will only be able to refuse a flexible working application for one of the eight listed business reasons.

ACAS has produced a new Code of Practice and Guidance on the extended right to request flexible working. These contain broad principles rather than detailed procedural steps, including the recommendation that employees be accompanied during discussions and given the right to appeal against a refusal.

Time off to attend antenatal appointments – 1 October 2014

Fathers and partners will be able to take unpaid time off to attend up to two antenatal appointments (up to a maximum of six and a half hours for each appointment).

Shared parental leave – 5 April 2015

Mothers, fathers or adopters will be able to opt to share up to 50 weeks’ leave and 37 weeks’ pay in the year following the birth or adoption of a child. This will apply to parents of babies due or children placed for adoption on or after 5 April 2015.

Adopters’ pay and leave entitlements will also be brought into line with those of birth parents.


Read more about these and other forthcoming legislative changes in our Legislation Timetable, available to members of our online portal, BResourceFull. If you are not already a member, please click here if you would like to apply to join.

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