Equal pay and Maternity Rights – New Government Consultation

From 2015, the Government plans on introducing a new system that will enable parents to have more flexible leave from work. This has come about as a result of an extensive review into existing UK Employment Law.

The proposed plans entitle mothers to eighteen weeks of paid maternity leave around the time they give birth. This can all be taken at once. When the eighteen weeks maternity leave and the initial paternity leave has been taken, a further thirty weeks of leave can be shared between each parent. Seventeen of the thirty weeks will be paid. At the moment, leave cannot be shared between the mother and father of a child.

In cases where employers can’t come to an agreement with their employee about how the time off is taken, the current proposals say that an employer can make sure that the leave is all taken at once. Business needs may require employers to ask their employee to come back temporarily during busy times, or conversely ask them to remain off for the entire time. The current proposals also state that each parent could have four weeks’ paid parental leave within a year of the child being born.

Furthermore, consideration is also being given by the government to proposals that in any employment tribunal claim with the tribunal thinks that there has been gender discrimination regarding equal pay, they will have the power to order the employer to carry out a pay audit in their own organisation with the employer also being forced to publish the resulting findings.

Our experienced employment lawyers urge any employer who is unsure about employment law or procedure to take no chances – but to take specialist legal advice before taking any action – or risk expensive employment tribunal compensation claims.