Employment Law: The nation rejoices in William and Kates great news
As the nation rejoices in William and Kate’s news when an employer learns of an employee’s pregnancy there are a number of matters which the employer has to consider.
The paradox facing smaller firms is that whilst they will support their colleague and be pleased for them, the practicalities can be challenging.
As an ‘employee’ of the Royal Family, aka ‘The Firm’, Kate will be allowed paid time off for ante-natal, relaxation and parent craft classes. Her boss, HRH The Queen may have a maternity policy in place which Kate can read (a pregnant employee may however be a catalyst for drawing up a policy), if a policy is in place both Kate and ‘The Firm’ will then know exactly where they stand and HRH is well within her rights to check Kate’s appointment card from the Royal physician.
In respect of maternity pay Kate would be entitled to 6 weeks at 90% of her full salary and then 33 weeks at the Statutory Maternity Pay rate, subject to her having acquired the required length of service.
It may also be worth considering the nature of her work as her pregnancy advances and a reminder to HRH regarding risk assessments might be useful. Health and Safety is a cause for concern; as we all know too many posies of flowers to carry or bending down chatting to children can be a strain during pregnancy and employers are advised to conduct an assessment.
And finally William, will he take parental leave or will Kate be left holding the baby? Under a new system of flexible parental leave, parents will be able to choose how they share care of their child in the first year after birth. Employed mothers will still be entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave; however, working parents will be able to opt to share the leave.
Mothers are legally required to take the initial two weeks’ of leave following the birth as a recovery period. Following that, they can choose when to end the maternity leave, and the parents can opt to share the remaining leave as flexible parental leave.
The Government are due to legislate on this next year and it is anticipated that changes to flexible parental leave will be introduced in 2015.
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