Dear <<First Name>>,
Many of the recent Employment Law changes have focused on family matters. There are more to come in 2015, so it’s important that you are prepared and know how they might affect your business. Many changes relate to family matters of your members of staff. While you might not think you’re directly involved, you could be and you need to know how to handle each situation.
This issue of Working Together focuses on family matters and some of the changes that you need to know about, as an employer. There is also news of our next Employment Law workshop, so do read on.
0118 940 3032
When you employ members of staff, your business can be affected by their lives outside work. You need to be aware of how their family matters could affect your business. Recently employers have had to get to grips with how the partners of their employees could affect the business they don’t even work for. Research also shows that companies which actively support and care for their employees see higher levels of retention and productivity. So how do you deal with family matters?
Here are some examples:
Shared Parental Leave
In the past, mothers could take 52 weeks of maternity leave and 39 weeks of statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance after the birth of a baby. Now they can decide to share the leave with their partner. This means that if you are the employer of the partner, you could still find yourself having to give them parental leave, if the mother decides to go back to work early. To make sure your business is prepared for this, know how many of your key members of staff this could affect. Having a contingency plan for what it could cost you.
Pregnant mothers are entitled to time off for antenatal appointments. In addition, partners of mothers to be can now take unpaid time off work to go with her to two of these appointments. While you might not have any expectant members of staff, think about the impact on your business of losing a key member of staff for a day – the partner. Can you still hold a Board Meeting with one of your Directors absent?
2015 Childcare Scheme
From this autumn, almost 2 million families will be able to make use of the tax-free childcare scheme announced in the last Budget. Eligible families will be able to claim a 20% rebate on their childcare costs up to £2,000 per child. How could this affect your business? Research shows that nearly a quarter of employed mothers would increase their working hours if they could arrange good quality childcare. This could be a good thing for your business, but not every family is eligible and some could end up worse off. Some might need to reduce their working hours, which might not suit your business.
In the past, only parents with children under the age of 17 and carers could apply for flexible working. Now employees who are not caring for others have the right to make a request and as the employer, you must deal with these requests in a reasonable manner. This means you can no longer only expect your employees with children to request flexible working. Now you need to be prepared in case any of your employees makes the request. Do you know how you would deal with these matters?
Time Off for Dependants
All employees have the right to time off during working hours, to deal with unforeseen matters and emergencies relating to dependants. This is unpaid leave, unless you’re willing to give paid time off. Employees have a right to a reasonable amount of time off – usually 1-2hours rather than days – to deal with emergencies involving a spouse, partner, child, parent or an elderly neighbour. Leave can be taken to deal with a breakdown in childcare, to put longer term care in place for children or elderly relatives, if a dependant falls ill or is taken into hospital or to arrange or attend a funeral. Do you have a plan in place to deal with employees needing to take time off at short notice?
There have been a number of recent Employment Law changes affecting family matters. However, there are many other legal requirements that you need to be aware of, relating to your employees and their families. For more information the Acas website is always a good place to start.
How Do You Keep Up to Date?
On 21 May 2015 we’ll be spending the morning at Hennerton Golf Club in Wargrave, Berkshire, going through the latest changes to Employment Law. For individual help with your business and your employees, book your place on the workshop. We’ll talk about how the changes will specifically impact on your business. Click here to book your place for just £15 +VAT.
One of the attendees at a recent workshop said “I thought the workshop would be full of other HR people who knew more than me – but it wasn’t like that at all. I learnt a great deal from the Employment Law update and it was really useful talking to other people to hear how they dealt with similar issues to me.”
If you can’t come to the workshop, why not arrange a tailored update for your business? Book a 2 hour session, which I will deliver at your premises, for just £250 +VAT, if you book it between 22 May and 30 June 2015. Call 0118 940 3032 or click here to book your session.