20 July 2023
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Family-Friendly Policies: Six New Developments for Employers Consider

To The Point
(3 min read)

There are a number of changes to family-related rights and protections on the horizon.  Most recently, the Government has announced forthcoming changes to paternity leave in its response to the Good Work Plan: proposals for families.  New legislation has also been published on flexible working requests, neonatal care, carer's leave and redundancy protection for expectant mothers and new parents and the CIPD has published a report on workplace support for employees experiencing fertility challenges, investigations or treatment.  We take a look at these new developments and what employers should be doing about them.

In its response to a 2019 consultation on a number of proposals for reforming parental leave and pay, the Government confirmed that it would make changes to paternity leave.  It also acknowledged the difficulties that exist with the shared parental leave provisions including the complexity of the scheme, the lack of awareness among parents and employers and affordability being a barrier to take up of the entitlement.  Nevertheless, there are no proposed changes to shared parental leave or unpaid parental leave for the time being.

New legislation has recently been published which will enhance family-friendly rights and protections and flexible working requests and we have also seen some helpful guidance from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) on workplace support on fertility matters, a topical issue for many employers.

We have set out below the changes that have been announced and what they mean for employers:

Paternity Leave
Flexible Working Requests
Neonatal Care
Carer's Leave
Protection from Redundancy
Fertility in the Workplace

Next steps

There is currently no set timetable for implementing the Government's proposals on paternity leave reform or for laying down regulations needed for the new rights to flexible working requests, neonatal care leave and pay, carer's leave and enhanced redundancy protection in pregnancy and for new parents.  With regulations for carer's leave expected in April 2024, neonatal care by April 2025 and paternity leave and enhanced redundancy protections being published in due course and no timetable yet for flexible working requests, employers have time to review current policies and prepare for the new measures when they come into force.

As the focus on workplace inclusion remains a priority for many organisations, we are seeing more employers considering the issues around fertility in the workplace and looking at effective means to support employees who are experiencing those challenges.  The CIPD guidance provides employers with an understanding of good practice and a framework for implementing their own policies. 

To the Point 

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