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Family & Pregnancy

Maternity and paternity leave

The law on family friendly policies, maternity and paternity leave is constantly adapting, with the options available to new parents diversifying all the time. For employers, navigating this ever-changing landscape can be a challenge. A failure to fully understand your legal responsibilities in regards to maternity leave or flexible working requests can lead to a range of issues, including discrimination claims under the Equality Act 2010.

Ensuring that your organisation is compliant with the relevant legislation is more important than ever, with staff nationwide increasingly self-educated on the various options available to them, from the responsibilities of an employer to their entitlements surrounding shared leave and pay.

There are some general principles that can be outlined in maternity and paternity policies, and Loch Employment Law can provide instrumental guidance on policy creation and process, helping to protect your business against potential problems.

However, the differing circumstances of business can complicate matters. When a more tailored approach is required, our employment lawyers can provide specific legal advice on maternity or paternity related issues — helping your organisation and employees to thrive at this exciting but busy time.

“The speed of their service levels combined with high quality advice always exceeds our expectations and as a result we have been a satisfied client of the firm for over 7 years. I would not hesitate to recommend Loch Employment Law to any business.”

Operations Director, Professional Services

How Loch Employment Law can help

Whatever requirements you may have, our team of expert employment lawyers can advise on all pregnancy and maternity-related issues. Whether it’s helping you to devise relevant policies that comply with statutory requirements, or providing checklists that ensure you follow due process, Loch Employment Law can help.

By working closely with dedicated HR Consultants from our sister company HR Advise Me, we can also offer advice on how to manage staff absences, while ensuring that your organisation’s approach to family matters is conducive to a sustainable corporate culture. Handling this issue properly is imperative to retaining existing staff, while also providing enhanced benefits that can attract potential new employees.

Common family and pregnancy-related issues

The increasing possibilities open to employees when configuring their work/life balance can pose a number of problems for employers, including:

Flexible working requests: An employee returning from maternity leave is entitled to make a flexible working request, which may include working from home or amending their start and finish times. While there are eight separate legal reasons to refuse a flexible working request, you will need to show evidence to substantiate this – it is not enough to simply reject the request.

Maternity cover: Navigating problems that arise within the organisation during parental leave; for example, when the person providing maternity or paternity cover performs better than the original employee.

Risk assessments: Addressing situations in which staff become unable or unwilling to carry out certain types of work during pregnancy. Health and safety legislation requires that organisations undertake risk assessments for pregnant employees and new mothers, and employers may risk claims of discrimination if this is ignored.

IVF treatment: Understanding that IVF treatment appointments can carry the same weight as any other medical appointment, in terms of granting employees permission to attend.

Managing absence: It’s important to keep staff on maternity/paternity leave up-to-date with professional life in order to avoid isolating them, which can result in a discrimination claim.

Redundancy: How to manage any redundancies and dismissals without incurring disputes and claims, in relation to staff who are trying to conceive,  are pregnant or are on parental leave.

“The expertise of Loch Employment Law made me feel in very safe hands. Caroline was thorough at explaining the legal situation, giving clear advice and was committed to getting me a fair outcome”

Senior Professional

“Thanks for all your help. Very impressed how you pressed the negotiations forward on Wednesday to allow us to reach a quick resolution.”

App Developer

“Being a new employer can be very daunting but she gave me the confidence to forge ahead with the process always explaining things in a straight forward manner.”

Dave Mac, Employer