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Work-life balance is about creating and maintaining supportive and healthy work environments, which will enable employees to have balance between work and personal responsibilities and thus strengthen employee loyalty and productivity. Legislation has been introduced to ensure that any negative influence the family is subjected to be eradicated or best minimised; the most recent changed being the Work and Families Act 2006.
Work and Families Act 2006?Added to The Employment Act 2002
• Statutory Maternity Pay and Statutory Adoption Pay extended to 39 weeks ?• Length of service requirement for additional maternity leave removed? • Optional keeping in touch days have been introduced enabling a woman to work for up to 10 days during her maternity leave period without losing her SMP ?• The notice a woman must give if she is changing her date of return from maternity leave has been increased from 28 days to 8 weeks? • Additional Paternity Leave and Pay will entitle employed fathers to a new right of up to 26 weeks? • Additional Paternity Leave, some of which could be paid, if the mother returns to work? The right to request flexible working has also been extended to carers from 6 April 2007.
The Employment Act 2002
The Employment Act 2002 introduced new employment legislation specifically to help working parents.
Since 6th April 2003, parents with young and disabled children have had more choice and more support than ever before to balance childcare and work in ways that benefits everyone: employers, employees and their children. ?• Parents with children aged under the age of 6, and disabled children under the age of 18, have the legal right to request flexible working.
?• Maternity pay increased. Subject to their level of earnings, all new mothers are entitled to 6 months paid leave and can take another 6 months unpaid leave, if they qualify.
Mothers who have not earned enough to qualify for statutory maternity pay may be entitled to Maternity Allowance. ?• New fathers have the right to two weeks paid paternity leave at a rate equivalent to statutory maternity pay. ?• Parents who adopt also have new rights, similar to maternity and paternity pay and leave.? • The process for maternity, paternity and adoption leave has been simplified to make it easier for companies to handle applications.
Part-time workers (Prevention of less favourable treatment) Regulations 2000
This provision ensures that part time workers are treated no less favourably, in their terms and conditions of employment, than their comparable full-time colleagues. ? • Part-time employees are entitled to the same hourly rate of pay for normal hours and overtime as comparable full time employees (only if working above full time hours). Part-time employees should have the same access to pension schemes, to annual leave and maternity/paternity leave, sick pay and access to training and promotion. ?• Part-time employees should not be selected for redundancy on the grounds that they are part-time. ?• Leave entitlement, including bank holidays, should be calculated on a pro-rata basis.
Working Time Regulations 1998?In October 1998
The Government introduced the Working Time Directive, giving employees protection against working excessive hours.? • Worker’s time cannot exceed an average of 48 hours/week for each seven day period normally calculated over a standard 17 week reference period (unless another reference period is agreed) and employees are protected by regulations which govern daily and weekly rest breaks during day and night shifts.
(20 minute break must be taken in any 6 hour shift) • Employer’s duties are to offer holiday entitlement to ensure that every worker can take four weeks holiday each year (pro-rata if part-time).? • An employee may opt-out (by signing an agreement saying he/she does not wish to be protected in this way), however, there is protection for individual employees from dismissal or detriment if they refuse or withdraw their opt-out.
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