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Are you ready for October's new legislation?
The law states that an expectant father, or partner to a pregnant woman, will be entitled to take unpaid time off work to accompany the expectant mother to attend up to two antenatal appointments up to a maximum of 6.5 hours for each appointment.
The new right has no qualifying period. It’s a day one right and employees will not need to accrue a minimum amount of service with a company before taking advantage of it. So, in a nutshell, it’s probable that the new law will affect you as its rights are available to all your employees from the start of their employment.
You will need to consider who qualifies for the benefit before giving your agreement to this.
The person has a qualifying relationship with a woman or her expected child if:
- They are the pregnant woman’s husband or civil partner
- They live with the woman, whether in a heterosexual or same sex relationship, in an enduring family relationship, but is not a relative of the woman
- They are the expected child’s father
- They are of a same sex couple who is to be treated as the child’s other parent under the assisted reproduction provisions in the Human Fertilisation Act 2008
- They are a potential applicant for a Parental Order in relation to a child who is expected to be a surrogate mother.
With the new rules coming into place we would advise it be best practice for you, as the employer, to request a declaration from the employee confirming their eligibility and the appointment so as to ensure the employee has the right to the time.
Can this request be refused?
Only when it is reasonable to do so. However, no legislation has been produced to provide any assistance with this. Personally, I would approach this with caution.
Anita Manfredi of Employer Solutions – QCS Human Resource Expert.