More flexibility for working parents

Children and Families Act 2014 receives Royal Assent: employment aspects

The Children and Families Act 2014 received Royal Assent on 13 March 2014. The Act will introduce several changes for working parents, including:

Flexible working

From 30 June 2014: The right to request flexible working will be extended to all employees. The current statutory procedure that employers must follow when considering flexible working requests will be replaced with a duty on employers to consider requests in a reasonable manner, supplemented by a statutory code of practice from Acas.

Time off work for ante-natal care

From 1 October 2014: Fathers and partners will be able to take time off to attend up to two antenatal appointments. Adopters may also take time off to attend appointments to meet the child they intend to adopt (up to a maximum of six and a half hours for each appointment).

Employees are entitled, under certain circumstances, to bring a tribunal claim if their employer refuses the time off, or refuses to pay the employee for the time off.

Shared parental leave

From 5 April 2015: Mothers, fathers or adopters will be able to opt to take shared parental leave within the first year of the birth or adoption placement. This will apply to parents of babies due or children placed for adoption on or after the April 2015 date. Adopters’ pay and leave entitlements will also be brought into line with those of birth parents.

Eligible employees will be entitled to a maximum of 52 weeks’ leave and 39 weeks’ statutory, maternity/paternity pay upon the birth or adoption of a child, which can be shared between the parents.

Adopters will be entitled to take advantage of the leave rules, as will the intended parents in a surrogacy arrangement. Statutory adoption pay will also be brought into line with statutory maternity pay, by the introduction of a six-week period at 90% of earnings.

The Government view is that the new provisions will help people to better balance their work and home life.

Bharti Gorasia (solicitor)
Corporate and Commercial Team

For further information please contact:

Andrew Firman is a partner in the Employment Team specialising in commercial and employment matters (

Bharti Gorasia is a solicitor in the Corporate and Commercial specialising in commercial and employment matters (