For decades women have had the right to take paid time off from work to attend antenatal appointments, and on the 1 October 2014 this right is going to be extended to expectant fathers and partners by virtue of the new Children and Families Act 2014 (though there is not going to be a corresponding right for this time to be paid).
However, while expectant mothers usually attend around 10 antenatal appointments, the new law only allows expectant fathers and partners to attend up to two appointments for a maximum of 6.5 hours each. Though, employers can use their discretion and allow employees more than the statutory periods off.
To be eligible for the new right, the employee must have a qualifying relationship with the pregnant woman or child, this includes being:
· a pregnant woman's husband, partner or civil partner;
· the father of the child; and
· intended parents in a surrogacy situation who meet specific conditions.
The new right is classed as a ‘day-one right’ which means that it is not necessary for employees to accrue a minimum amount of time or service with their employer for them to be eligible to exercise the right. However, for agency workers to exercise this new right, they will need to have accrued the prescribed service of twelve weeks.
Employers should ensure that their staff have been provided with full details of the new rights and should review and update their policies on maternity, paternity and agency workers.
As always if I can provide you with any further assistance on queries relating to maternity or paternity rights, please do not hesitate to contact me for a free consultation on 0113 350 4030 or email@example.com.
Please note that the information in this blog is to provide information of general interest in a summary manner and should not be construed as individual legal advice. Readers should consult with SCE Solicitors or other professional counsel before acting on the information contained here.