What can we expect in 2017 on parental workplace rights?

Dr Anne Sammon outlines the changes that we can expect in 2017.

Although we are still only at the start of 2017, there are indications that parental workplace rights will once again be on the legislative agenda with the long awaited consultation on Shared Parental Leave for Grandparents still to be published and a renewed focus on pregnancy discrimination.

Shared Parental Leave for Grandparents

This consultation was expected in summer of 2016, but with Brexit assuming the attention of the legislature, it never materialised. The Government had indicated that it wanted to introduce legislation on this to take effect from 2018, which would mean that the consultation is likely to now take place in 2017. There is nothing immediate for employers to do on this and in the intervening period, it is likely that grandparents that have caring responsibilities for their grandchildren will continue to rely on the rights to holiday and flexible working to assist them in accommodating these responsibilities in the workplace.

Pregnancy discrimination

The Government has promised a consultation on how to prevent women from losing their jobs when they are pregnant or become new mothers. This follows the publication of the results of an Equality and Human Rights Commission investigation into pregnancy discrimination and disadvantage in the workplace, which found that 11% of mothers lost their jobs as a result of their parental or pregnancy status.

Employers are likely to find that there is greater attention on the treatment of pregnant workers. As such, they should consider whether the policies that they have in place already remain fit for purpose, but also should consider how these policies translate in practice and whether there is any risk of unfavourable treatment of pregnant workers occurring in their workplaces.

Areas that often cause difficulties for employers include:

If you have any questions in relation to this article or have a particular issue that you would like Anne to address in a future edition, please email anne.sammon@simmons-simmons.com 

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