Consultation on modern workplaces

Close date: 8 August 2011

The Government consults on proposals to overhaul the leave system for parents and the right to request flexible working, changes to the Working Time Regulations 1998 (SI 1998/1833), and introducing a requirement for tribunals to order equal pay audits. The Government proposes:

  • retaining an 18-week maternity leave period to be taken around the birth of a child, and reclassifying the rest of maternity leave as "flexible parental leave", giving each parent the right to four weeks' leave in the child's first year and parents the right to take an additional period of 30 weeks' leave, which can be shared between them and taken in blocks;
  • extending the right to take unpaid parental leave to parents of children over the age of five;
  • giving fathers the right to attend antenatal appointments;
  • extending the right to make a request to work flexibly to all employees who have been employed for 26 weeks, and making changes to the process for considering requests;
  • requiring employment tribunals to order an employer to conduct an equal pay audit and publish the results of the audit where the tribunal has found that the employer has breached equal pay legislation; and
  • enabling employees to reschedule annual leave that coincides with sickness absence and carry over a maximum of four weeks' statutory annual leave where they cannot take the leave due to sickness absence or where they have taken maternity, paternity, adoption or parental leave during the leave year, and allowing employers to defer or buy out 1.6 weeks' statutory annual leave.

The Government intends to implement the changes to parental leave by April 2015 and the changes to annual leave by 2012.
Consultation document: Consultation on modern workplaces (PDF format, 826K) (on the BIS website)
Government response: Modern workplaces response: Consultation on equal pay (PDF format, 207K) (on the Home Office website)
Government response: Modern workplaces response: Consultation on flexible parental leave (PDF format, 390K) (on the BIS website)
Government response: Modern workplaces response: Consultation on flexible working (PDF format, 307K) (on the BIS website)