As an employee you are entitled to some family friendly rights, briefly these are as follows:
If you have a baby, you are entitled to 26 weeks ordinary maternity leave (OML) followed by a further 26 weeks of additional maternity leave (AML).
You will be entitled to these maternity leave rights no matter what your length of service, so long as comply with the notification rules.
If you decide to take AML it must immediately follow on from your OML, providing you with up to 52 weeks of statutory maternity leave.
You will also be entitled to statutory maternity pay (SMP) if you have;
Worked for your employer continuously for 26 weeks up to and including the 15th week before your expected week of childbirth (EWC); and
Received an average wage of at least the lower earnings limit for National Insurance (currently £116) during the eight-week period ending with the 15th week before EWC.
If you are entitled to SMP because you satisfy the above criteria you will receive SMP for the first 39 weeks of your maternity leave. For the first 6 weeks you will get 90% of your usual wage, followed by a flat rate of £145.18 (current rate) for the following 33 weeks.
You will receive no SMP during after the 39 weeks even though you may have opted for the full 26 weeks of AML.
Check whether your employment contract has a provision for an enhanced maternity payment.
Note: the above applies to adopting parents in much the same way.
FAMILY RIGHTS - Shared parental leave
Shared parental leave (SPL) is a relatively new piece of legislation designed to reflect the greater involvement fathers play in the child care responsibilities. It allows you greater flexibility on who takes care for your child in the first year after birth or adoption.
SPL can allow both you and your child's father to take leave at the same time, or to alternate between who is caring for the child and who is working.
Whilst the idea is simple its operation can appear confusing.
As a new mother you are entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave as described above. However you could bring your maternity leave to an end to allow your child's father to take the remainder of your maternity leave. You can share your leave with your child's father, your husband or civil partner. You can also share your leave with a cohabiting partner (either of a different sex or the same sex) so long as they live with you and your child in an enduring family relationship.
You cannot share your leave with another of your children, your parent, grandchild, grandparent, sibling, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew.
As a new mother you must still take your 2 weeks of compulsory maternity leave.
To qualify for Shared Parental Leave:
Both you as mother and the other parent must meet certain requirements.
You both must have been working for your respective employers for a continuous period of 26 weeks, by the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth.
You both must have the main responsibility for caring for your child.
You must have served the requisite notices on your employers; and
Have provide your employer with any necessary evidence if they request it.
In order to calculate how much SPL you and the father together, entitled to you must deduct the number of weeks you take of maternity leave from the full entitlement of 52 weeks.
The remainder can then be taken by you or the father or a combination of you both as SPL. If you both meet the SPL requirements you will need to decide how you want to share your SPL. If you decide to take some of your SPL at the same time, both sets of leave will reduce the amount of SPL that remains.
For example, if you end your maternity leave after 10 weeks, and then you and the father both take 10 weeks of SPL at the same time, then the SPL remaining available to you both at the end of that period of SPL will be 22 weeks.
Adoption leave operates in much the same way as maternity leave and in the event that the conditions are met, an employee adopting a child will benefit from Statutory Adoption Pay. This is also paid for 39 weeks.
FAMILY RIGHTS - Paternity leave
If you as an employee have, or are expecting to have, a child born or one being placed for adoption with you and you satisfy certain rules you will be entitled to to take two weeks’ paternity leave. You will be able to take this at any time up to eight weeks after the date of birth or placement for adoption.
In order to qualify for paternity leave, you must be the father of the child or be married to or civil partner of the mother or adopter of the child, or be his or her partner. In addition, you must have or expect to have responsibility for the upbringing of the child.
You must give notice to your employer and have 26 weeks’ continuous employment ending with the 15th week before the EWC. You will receive Paternity pay at the same flat rate as SMP.
FAMILY RIGHTS - Parental leave
If you have completed one year's continuous employment and have, or expect to have, responsibility for a child, you have the right to take unpaid parental leave while your child is under the age of eighteen, for up to a maximum of 18 weeks overall leave for each child.
FAMILY RIGHTS - Flexible working
If you have 26 weeks of service you can request to have a flexible working arrangement. An example might be a reduction in your contractual hours after returning to work after having a baby.
FAMILY RIGHTS - Time off for dependents
You are entitled to take a reasonable amount of time off during your working hours in order to take action which is necessary;
to provide assistance on an occasion when a dependant falls ill, gives birth or is injured or assaulted
to make arrangements for the provision of care for a dependent who is ill or injured
in consequence of the death of a dependent
because of the unexpected disruption or termination of arrangements for the care of a dependent, or
to deal with an incident which involves your child that occurs unexpectedly whilst at school.
To be entitled to this right you must tell your employer the the reason for your absence as soon as reasonably practicable.
A dependent means;
Your spouse or civil partner
A person that lives in the same household as you, other than by reason of being his employee, tenant, lodger or boarder.