Flexible Working & Family Friendly Rights

Solicitors in Essex & London


Over the past three decades, the rights that employees are entitled to with family and care commitments have continued to expand.

We fully understand that family and care commitments are of the utmost importance and our expert employment solicitors in Essex and London are here to help should any such issues arise within your place of work.

Family-friendly rights include:

  • Adoption rights
  • Flexible working
  • Maternity rights
  • Parental leave
  • Paternity leave
  • Time off for dependants
  • Flexible working

Under the Flexible Working Regulations, an employee with at least 26 weeks' continuous employment can make a request for flexible working. Only one request can be made in any 12-month period.

A flexible working request is essentially a request from an employee to their employer seeking a change to their terms and conditions of employment, for example working hours, times or the place of work. It does not impose an obligation on an employer to agree to such request.

An employer can only refuse a request on one or more of the following grounds:

  • The burden of additional costs
  • Detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand
  • Inability to reorganise work among existing staff
  • Inability to recruit additional staff
  • Detrimental impact on quality
  • Detrimental impact on performance
  • Insufficiency of work during the periods the employee proposes to work
  • Planned structural changes

Our knowledgeable employment law solicitors in Essex and London can provide advice on each stage of the process and advise you on your options and possible claims, which may include discrimination (usually on grounds of sex, disability or religion and belief) and constructive dismissal.

Maternity rights, pregnancy & childbirth

Pregnancy and childbirth and caring for your children should be a happy experience. Unfortunately, it can often be made stressful by encountering problems in the workplace. It may be that as an employee you feel side-lined as soon as you announce your pregnancy to your employer or your requests for flexible working are turned down without proper explanation or reason.

Legally, your employer is not allowed to subject you to any detriment on the grounds of pregnancy, childbirth or because you have taken maternity leave.

You may find that your employer is refusing to allow you time off to attend antenatal appointments, that you have been selected for redundancy during your maternity leave or that you have been discriminated against on the grounds of your sex.

Pregnant employees are entitled to 52 weeks maternity leave.  This is made up of 26 weeks of ordinary maternity leave (OML) and 26 weeks of additional maternity leave (AML).

During OML, an employee is entitled to receive all of their normal contractual and related benefits, with the exception of wages or salary. On return from OML, an employee is entitled to their old job back on the same terms and conditions. Where an employee is entitled to return to her old job after AML or, if that is not reasonably practicable, to another job which is suitable and appropriate in the circumstances.

Time off for dependants

Employees have the right to take time off for ‘urgent family reasons’. The right allows an employee to take a reasonable amount of time off work in order to take action which is necessary:

  • To provide assistance when a dependant falls ill, gives birth or is injured.
  • To make arrangements for the provision of care for a dependant who is ill or injured.
  • In consequence of the death of a dependant.
  • Because of the unexpected disruption or termination of care for the dependant.

To deal with an incident involving a child of the employee occurring unexpectedly at an educational establishment which the child attends.

Parental leave

If you have taken any amount of parental leave you also have rights in respect to your return to the workplace, and should you suffer a detriment or face dismissal connected to your parental leave this may result in you having a claim for automatically unfair dismissal.

Book A Free Telephone Consultation

Find out more with a free initial Employment Law consultation

If you require further legal advice relating to flexible working or family-friendly rights in the workplace, we can help. Our expert employment solicitors in Essex and London will be happy to undertake an initial interview over the telephone to provide you with some general legal advice. This will enable you to determine what the best next steps are for you to take.

Free initial telephone consultations are available at any of our offices located in Brentwood, Hornchurch or Upminster, or at our office facilities in Leigh-On-Sea and Canary Wharf, London. We understand that sometimes it is difficult to arrange calls during working hours, so we also offer early morning, late night and Saturday appointments. All offices are open until 7pm Monday-Thursday.

Our Employment Law accreditations include:

APIL
Legal 500 2019 - Leading Firm

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