Parental and carer rights at first appear to be a rather complex set of procedures so here are our simplified version of what you need to know.

Employees don’t come shrink wrapped in a cellophane box from a sterile environment, they have a life outside of work that often involves family, children and other people such as elderly parents who may depend on them for help and support.

There are a number of parental and carer rights afforded to those employees that you need to be aware of:

  • Maternity Rights – essentially these are the rights of all female employees to Maternity Leave and the right to Statutory Maternity Pay for female employees with the correct qualifying service and earnings – there are other rights to take into consideration as well and employers with a pregnant employee should seek guidance
  • Paternity Rights – the rights of biological or adoptive fathers or the partner of a mother to take Paternity Leave and receive Statutory Paternity Pay where that leave is for the purpose of caring for a child; these rights are subject to having the correct qualifying service and earnings
  • Shared Parental Rights –which allows biological  parents to share time off to care for their child
  • Adoption Rights – the rights of adoptive parents are in essence the same as Maternity Rights
  • Time Off For Dependents – the right to take unpaid time off work to deal with emergencies relating to anyone who is dependent on an employee
  • Parental Leave – subject to the correct qualifying service this right allows parents to take up to 18 weeks unpaid Parental Leave to care for a child under the age of 18

In all of the circumstances above there are specific statutory processes that need to be followed, and limitations to the rights, so we’d advise any employer to take advice to ensure they are legally compliant and following best practice.

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