BIS confirms that the increase in parental leave will be postponed
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has confirmed that the increase in parental leave to 18 weeks will not be implemented by March 2012.
The Parental Leave Directive (2010/18/EC) increases the minimum parental leave provision from three to four months. The Directive comes into force on 8 March 2012 and member states are required to implement its provisions by that date. However, there is an exception that allows member states an extra year for implementation if this is necessary "to take account of particular difficulties".
The Government stated in its "Consultation on modern workplaces", launched in May 2011, that it will increase the existing right to unpaid parental leave from 13 weeks to 18 weeks and the right will be incorporated into the proposed system of "flexible parental leave" set out in that consultation, but it did not confirm the timescale for the changes to parental leave.
BIS has now confirmed to XpertHR that it intends to use the additional year's grace that the Directive allows and implement the change for March 2013, rather than March 2012. It has said that this is "due to the ongoing 'modern workplaces' policy development". The increase in unpaid parental leave from the 13 to 18 weeks per parent per child will be implemented ahead of the other proposed changes to family-related leave, which are expected to come into force from 2015.
- Consultation on modern workplaces: i) flexible parental leave ii) flexible working iii) Working Time Regulations iv) equal pay (PDF format, 826K) The proposed system of "flexible parental leave", including the increase to unpaid parental leave, is set out in the Government's consultation document (on the BIS website).
Parental leave The XpertHR employment law manual explains the law on parental leave.
Parental leave: Model policies and documents The XpertHR policies and documents section includes a model Parental leave policy and a model Letter explaining the right to take parental leave.
Parental leave reform: a step forward for gender equality Consultant editor Darren Newman explains why he is in favour of the Government’s proposals on shared parental leave as set out in the "Consultation on modern workplaces".