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Workplace rights as a working dad

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Workplace rights as a working dad


Karen Bexley MMB Manchester Magazine working mum blogger
By Karen Bexley – MLP Law

There is a lot of information surrounding maternity leave and working Mum’s right but are you aware of your options as a working Dad or partner?


Who has rights?


If you are the father or partner (whether by birth or adoption) including same sex partners or have a legal parental responsibility for a child then you have rights in relation to taking time off work and pay. Your employer can ask you for proof of these things.


Paternity Leave


• You can only take paternity leave if you are an employee. If you are self-employed, a consultant or agency worker you will not be entitled to paternity leave.

• Up to 2 weeks’ paternity leave. and, if eligible, Statutory Paternity Pay. You can take paternity leave at the time of the birth, or at a fixed date after the birth, and have the right to return to exactly the same job afterwards. Paternity leave must be taken within 56 days of the birth and must be one or two weeks in a row and not ad-hoc days.

• You may be entitled to full pay or part pay during your paternity leave. Check your contract of employment for details.
Shared parental leave (SPL)

If you feel you want more than 2 weeks off, you may qualify for shared parental leave. You are not obliged to take SPL and the default position (at birth or adoption) is that the 52 weeks’ maternity leave will remain with the mother of the child.

If you wish to opt in to the SPL Scheme, then you need to give your employer notice of your entitlement and follow the required process.

SPL is in effect allows the father to share the period of maternity leave with their partner. Both parents can request time off together or consecutively.

The right to request flexible working


Flexible working doesn’t have to mean that you are requesting to work part-time as a lot of people think. You may need to finish early on certain days to pick the kids up from nursery, or to share the childcare with your partner or you may want to request a change in where you work from. For example, you might want to work from home some days, or work from a different office which is closer to home. It’s all about being flexible.

Most flexible working requests will be deemed permanent requests and reflected in this way. If your request is more temporary, for whatever reason, you should make this clear to your employer. You should always check the specifics with your employer as some employers have their own rules on making these kinds of requests. However, whatever happens, your employer should consider your request, give you an answer within 14 days and give you reasons if they decline your request. You also have the right to appeal the decision made if you don’t agree with it.


Parental Leave


You have the right to take unpaid parental leave if:

• you have 12 months’ service;
• you are on the birth or adoption certificate;
• you have a legal parental responsibility; and
• you are classed as an employee (i.e not self-employed or a worker)
your employer may let you have parental leave if you don’t meet the above criteria, but they are not obliged to.

You are entitled to 18 weeks’ parental leave per child and you must use this before their 5th birthday ( or the child’s 18th birthday where disabled living allowance is received). If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. The time is also cumulative and not per employer and is usually unpaid.


Emergency dependant leave


A dependant can be anyone who depends on you in a significant way. This includes, but is not limited to, a child. It could be a parent, partner or grandchild too. If there is an emergency involving someone who depends on you, you are entitled to take a reasonable amount of time off work. Emergency in this scenario means any unforeseen circumstance and can be anything from a trip to A&E to nursery being shut. If something like this happens, notice in writing is not necessary but you should inform your employer ASAP.
It’s important to realise though that this type of emergency leave only covers the time is an actual emergency. You are expected to find alternative arrangements such as substitute childcare for example if your child’s nursery closes.


Other rights


You have the legal right to take unpaid leave to accompany your spouse or partner to up to two antenatal appointments. The time allocation is up to 6.5 hours per appointment including getting there and any wait times and you can be asked for proof of these appointments by your employer.

You have a choice as to how much you are involved in the leave after the birth or adoption of your child. We frequently advise working Dads on their rights at MLP. If you need any further information, or advice on anything working dad related, you can call one of the MLP Employment team on 0161 926 9969 or drop and email to employment@mlplaw.co.uk.

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