Family life plays an important role in the wellbeing of your workforce and increasingly work life and family life are intertwined. There are various rights that businesses need to be aware of – some apply to all staff, and some just to employees.

Pregnancy and maternity leave

If a member of staff announces her pregnancy, either with a MATB1 form or before, there are a number of considerations for a business, including:

  • performing risk assessments
  • ensuring she and her unborn child are not at risk through the work they perform, and adjusting the role if necessary
  • allowing her time off for ante-natal appointments
  • dealing with any pregnancy-related sickness
  • notifying her of her maternity leave and pay, and how any holiday pay will be dealt with
  • how will her role be covered during her maternity leave and recruiting for that if necessary
  • if redundancies are likely to occur during the maternity period, the additional rights the maternity leaver has.

All pregnant workers are entitled to maternity leave, although the rights they have on returning to work depend on the amount of leave they have taken. Maternity pay is relevant to employees only and there are qualifying requirements for an employee to receive it.

Pregnancy and maternity is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010 and businesses should ensure that they do not discriminate on this ground. We are experienced in providing advice on all of the potential issues as outlined above.

Paternity leave

We can advise your business when it receives a request for paternity leave and the qualifying requirements in order for an employee to receive paternity leave and pay. The partner of a pregnant woman also has the right to have leave to accompany her to ante-natal appointments, and we can provide policies and advice in relation to this.

Other special types of leave

We can advise your business when it receives a request for any of the following types of leave:

  • shared parental leave
  • adoption leave
  • parental leave.

We can also advise on the pay that accompanies the various leaves and ensure that you have relevant policies in place so that you know the steps to take when someone requests that leave.

Flexible working requests

The demand of family life often brings a need for a staff member to make a flexible working request. We can provide advice on how best to deal with a flexible working request if you have received one. It is also important to remember that staff members do not need to provide a reason for making a flexible working request, nor does it need to be concerning a family reason – staff members making flexible working requests for other reason should not be prejudiced.


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