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The Rights of Working Parents

By: Angela Armes - Updated: 19 May 2019 | comments*Discuss
 
Working Parents Parents Working Working

In the United Kingdom, we have one of Europe’s most parent-friendly systems which allows parents to have a quality of life and parental stability not always afforded by other countries.

The Rights of Working Parents

In short, parents in the UK have the working right to some or all of the following :

Flexible Working Hours

All working parents have the right to work flexible hours in order to ensure that their children are looked after correctly. Many working parents in the UK have to work long hours to be able to provide a stable life for the children. With this in mind, the government has introduced legislation that enables fathers and mothers alike to work a set number of hours (agreeable with their employer) in a slightly less formal structure.

This could allow a parent to work part-time hours during the course of a week starting at 9am and finishing at 3pm, for example; alternatively flexible working arrangements may allow for a parent to come into work later on a morning to allow transporting their children to school or a childminder.

Maternity Leave

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) can be paid to a mother for up to 39 weeks after she has had her baby. As a working parent, a mother is entitled to maternity leave and statutory maternity pay if she has been in constant employment with the same company or organisation for 26 weeks prior to the 15 week of her pregnancy. A mother has the right to take 33 weeks of Ordinary Maternity Leave and 26 weeks of Additional Maternity Leave, which adds up to 52 weeks of entitled leave.

Paternity Leave

In the last few years the legislation governing the working rights of fathers has changed to ensure that fathers can have paid leave to spend with their children after they are born. This is referred to as paternity leave and is paid at the same rates as maternity pay although only for one to two weeks. A father can spend one to two weeks at home with his newborn child if he is (a) the child’s biological father or (b) married to the child’s mother.

Paid and Unpaid Leave for Adoptive Parents

Although adoptive leave is a working right of any parent, it may only be paid for if there are already arrangements and agreements in place with your employer. As with maternity and paternity leave, you must be employed by your current employer for 26 weeks prior to becoming the child’s adoptive parent.

As an adoptive parent, you are entitled to up to 52 weeks leave (26 weeks of ordinary adoption leave followed by 26 weeks of additional adoption leave) which is paid at a flat rate known as Statutory Adoptive Pay (SAP). In order to qualify for adoptive leave – paid or unpaid – you must notify your employer well in advance that you are being matched to a child for adoption. This allows them to make the necessary arrangements – not only for cover – but also if their terms and conditions state you are entitled to Statutory Adoptive Pay.

All of the aforementioned rights are afforded to working parents in the UK and if you are an expectant mother or proud father-to-be then you should investigate the terms and conditions of your employment and enquire as to whether or not these working rights are supported by your employer.

Your local Citizens Advice Bureau should be able to help you find out what you are entitled to, and will also be able to help with understanding the terms and conditions of your contract of employment.

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I have an employee who has stated she cannot work certain shifts due to lack of childcare since her marriage broke down. We have accommodated her to her requirements, which means other team members have had to readjust their shifts. Thus includes Saturday nights. However, since we have rearranged her shifts for her and she no longer works Saturdaynights, every Saturday night since she has gone out socialising. Team members are doing her shifts on the factor that she doesn't have childcare- not so that she can go out drinking. What are our rights as an employer? Is there anything I can do???
Vicki - 19-May-19 @ 5:48 PM
Hello I am looking for some advice, my daughter who is 16 years old she has a job at a local holiday park I am just wondering what time she is allowed to work till they seem to have her working till 11pm some evening she has a shift coming up starting work at 1pm and finishing at 11pm on a Saturday with only half a hour break, I don't thin nk this is right she has mentioned to her employer about this but they have not done anything she starts her gcse soon and I am worried it is going to effect them with her working late
Zara - 11-Apr-19 @ 9:37 PM
Hi a friend has recently been sacked after working as an electrician for years for the same company due to him refusing to working abroad at the minute due to his new born baby being in icu after being born early with complications. He hasn't even taken his paternity leave. He feels he cannot be working abroad whilst his little girl is still in hospital but has been going to work as normal and was saving his paternity leave for when she goes home. Does he have any rights on his side? Thankyou.
Maddog - 13-Oct-18 @ 2:29 PM
Hi, I have been working for the same company for the last 10 years, recently my line manager confessed to me that she was struggling and she really needs a help of a manager during the day( iam working evening shifts) so I said that my husband who was working on days at the time has been offered a job during evening but he didn’t take it because of our 4 children who must be looked after so he is doing days and more evenings, anyway she said please speak to your husband and see if he is happy going on evenings and you work days with me, I have agreed also spoke to my husband arranged everyting and told her that I was ready to start working with her from the 2nd of July. She said ok that’s great let’s let our director know of the news, after I told him he said no to me that he doesn’t have a manager position for me but if I want I can work as an administrator for £5000 pound less in my wage during the day. Please helpme with an advise as am struggling with child care
Bila - 13-Jul-18 @ 9:57 AM
I am a hospitality staff working for nights. As a separated father and in recent court order. I have to have to pick up my daughter from school on alternative weeks and return her back to school on Monday. So alternatively I am taking 1 day and then 3 days off. My department has now refused to give weekly off as above. Recently I requested my company for a week of unpaid leave as my daughter will be with me during 3 week holiday period was refused. So I requested for day shift so I am at home during the nights. This is also declined Is there any law that can support me in my case
Joe - 13-Jun-18 @ 7:16 PM
hi. I presently work within a large public corporation on a part time basis. I am a single mother and my family can only help before and after school. My youngest son goes to nursery which is available to me on week days.The manager is asking me to work nights and weekends, which means potentially that I will pay more in childcare than I earn in a month. What are my rights? Can I say no?
Lizzylou - 2-Jun-18 @ 8:25 PM
I started a job on march 1st and explained i would need 1 day off a week in order to see my son, opted to work over 48 hours (chef) 2 months in i was told i would have to work 7 days a week at least once or twice through june/july/august as i feel this would cause emotional damage to my 3 year old son i have decided to quit, but i feel somewhat harrassed for having to raise a child but legally where do i stand on this issue?
Luke2758 - 5-May-18 @ 8:32 PM
Di - Your Question:
I have a SGO for my grandson who is 6yrs and I need to rearrange my working shifts. I work in care home and I need to work four days off and three days in so I can work back to back with my partner so that one of use is their each day, does my employer have.to hourner my request.

Our Response:
Employers have to consider all requests for flexible working. They can refuse but need to give a good business reason for doing so.
LawAndParents - 25-Apr-18 @ 12:52 PM
I have a SGO for my grandson who is 6yrs and I need to rearrange my working shifts... I work in care home and I need to work four days off and three days in so I can work back to back with my partner so that one of use is their each day, does my employer have.to hourner my request.
Di - 23-Apr-18 @ 4:26 PM
Gemma - Your Question:
I returned to work from Maternity leave in October 2017. I agreed to work a split shift Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 6am -1pm then 7pm -11pm with Wednesday working 6am-3pm and Fridays off. We agreed this on a trial basis to be reviewed in December. It was never reviewed but my new boss has decided he wants me working core hours. This means I have to pay for childcare and is pointless because I will be walking away with net part time salary working full time hours and will not get time with my daughter. Since he raised this a week ago he is making my life hell contacting me in the afternoons when he never contacts me in the mornings when I am working. I think he is trying to build a case that the flexible hours aren’t working. Do I have any rights around this or do I just have to quit my job which is basically where it’s heading

Our Response:
Was it working well with your old boss? Can you get some evidence of that? Do you have a union rep who you can talk to about this?
LawAndParents - 28-Mar-18 @ 12:34 PM
I returned to work from Maternity leave in October 2017. I agreed to work a split shift Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 6am -1pm then 7pm -11pm with Wednesday working 6am-3pm and Fridays off. We agreed this on a trial basis to be reviewed in December. It was never reviewed but my new boss has decided he wants me working core hours. This means I have to pay for childcare and is pointless because I will be walking away with net part time salary working full time hours and will not get time with my daughter. Since he raised this a week ago he is making my life hell contacting me in the afternoons when he never contacts me in the mornings when I am working. I think he is trying to build a case that the flexible hours aren’t working. Do I have any rights around this or do I just have to quit my job which is basically where it’s heading
Gemma - 26-Mar-18 @ 5:43 PM
Myself and my wife work every other weekend so when i am off l look after our son and my wife works that weekend and when she is off i work the other weekend our son is under 16and now mywork are saying i have to work 3 weekends out of 4 so there is no one to look after my son as we will both be at work can they make me do this is there some law i can show them to help my case .
Crossy - 2-Mar-18 @ 7:32 PM
Leechy - Your Question:
I have a job 3-6.15 and I have no one to pick my daughter up from nursery school. Is there any chance I could pick her up at 2 o clock for a short period so I can take her to a child minder before I start work?

Our Response:
If you don't start work until 3pm, this wouldn't be affect your working hours anyway would it?
LawAndParents - 12-Jan-18 @ 1:00 PM
Tez. have you applied for childcare as part of your tax credits? They will pay up to 70%. you should also get help with rent and council tax with such a low income. Ring your local housing office and also call tax credits to inform them you want to add this to your claim 03453003900. You can also update it all online if you search for manage tax credits online and it's done pretty much immediately (unless they need more info) I hope this helps your situation. We've all been there. Chin up ????
Clarebear84 - 10-Jan-18 @ 9:24 PM
I have a job 3-6.15 and I have no one to pick my daughter up from nursery school. Is there any chance I could pick her up at 2 o clock for a short period so I can take her to a child minder before I start work?
Leechy - 10-Jan-18 @ 4:40 PM
I need advise as I been working in a retail store for 15 years did the same days and hrs as i got 4 children .my manager has reviewed my flex and said my hrs are not for the business and gave me two options to work 12-4 or 1-5 I've explained i need to pick up my child from school for 3:30 . I've even offered to work 11:45- 2:45 , to be honest am on the shop floor at 10 biggest floor and there are days when am on my own until next member of staff starts 11 or 12 .where do I stand I need advise
mother - 17-Dec-17 @ 9:55 AM
My daughters nursery contacted my work saying my child was poorly and needed picking up my employer then contacted the nursery to confirm this after I left site and with no permission is this legal
keithy - 14-Oct-17 @ 10:09 AM
I need some advice please. I was recently forced out of job where the manager claimed that she cannot accommodate me on the days that I was available to work as I have to look after my son and was available to work on days that my husband has off. They owe me on sick pay and holiday pay and I wanted compensation for being victimised at work. We went through the resolution process but eventually the company said they do not want to negotiate. Now I have to find a legal representative to prepare my case to the employment tribunal. Can anyone recommend a good solicitor in London who is keek to defend the rights of a working mother? Thanks
StressedMum - 4-Oct-17 @ 1:13 PM
Cp123 - Your Question:
I've recently asked to change my shifts so they work around school hours 9-3 twice a week and to work a weekend day. As I single mum I don't have a lot of childcare options within my family and friends. I have worked for the company for 9years and they are saying it doesn't met the company's needs. Being a large supermarket I would of thought they would be able to accommodate me, as my child is under 5 are they supposed to help me?

Our Response:
We don't know what kind of job you are undertaking at your work place, so can't really give specific advice. You can appeal an employer's decision to refuse your application to work flexibly but you must do this within 14 days of receiving the refusal. If you feel you application has been refused on flimsy grounds (i.e other employees applications have been accepted etc) and the appeal is unsuccessful, you could consider taking it to a tribunal. The employer has to look at its business position too and if it has a valid reason for refusal, there isn't much you can do.
LawAndParents - 27-Sep-17 @ 12:48 PM
I've recently asked to change my shifts so they work around school hours 9-3 twice a week and to work a weekend day. As I single mum I don't have a lot of childcare options within my family and friends. I have worked for the company for 9years and they are saying it doesn't met the company's needs. Being a large supermarket i would of thought they would be able to accommodate me, as my child is under 5 are they supposed to help me?
Cp123 - 25-Sep-17 @ 7:11 PM
Daniel - Your Question:
As a father do I have any rights as my partner (sons mother) works 2 nights a week starts at 8 pm but I dont finish work till 9pm. Do I have any rights to help my partner. A. get set days off to cover the 2 nights she work or B. get to leave work an hour early

Our Response:
You can make an application for flexible working hours (a change of working hours to suit you/your lifestyle). Your employer has to give the request due consideration and must provide a valid business reason for refusing the request.
LawAndParents - 19-Sep-17 @ 12:34 PM
As a father do i have any rights as my partner (sons mother) works 2 nights a week starts at 8 pm but i dont finish work till 9pm. Do i have any rights to help my partner. A... get set days off to cover the 2 nights she work or B... get to leave work an hour early
Daniel - 17-Sep-17 @ 10:12 PM
Hi, I have my children 6 nights out of 14 and three full weeks per year (in my work holidays) I also pay the maintenance I should as per the gov.uk website. Unfortunately on "my" nights I cannot pick up the three children until half past 7 as my working day is 11:00 until 19:00. My ex is constantly on at me because of this and the fact she has to also feed them but is there anything legally I can do to stop the moaning. She also is threatening to "drop the kids off" at my work or to my house (so my partner would have to have them early). I obviously can't start my night with them (or my partner when they aren't there) until half past 7 when I finish work. Any deflecting arguments gratefully received. Many thanks WLD Obviously
work late dad - 6-Sep-17 @ 6:24 PM
I'm was carer at the care home I'm working then became a senior carer i was able to do night's becausethe dad was looking after my sonbut now the the dad is doing night shift I talked to my manage at work and explain to her her I can only do morning shifts now she is forcingme to do night shift I can'tdo it because my son is 8 years and can't leave himalone in the house what should I do
Liz - 18-Aug-17 @ 4:01 PM
I am a support worker. I have never had any problems with any shifts until my mum passed away last september. I actually have nobody to look after my daughter. My problem is that last october i spoke to my manager asking if i could do the 10 am starts instead of 8am starts so that i could see my daughter to school. I also asked for no nightshifts on school nights as my daughtee cant just randomly stay at peoples houses on a school night. Remember i have nobody to watch her! Explained my dilemma and said i also disnt want to impact on the service users either. So i asked him if he couldn't accomodate to just let me know as my child comes first. I had to go back to my manager several times before i finally got an answer that yes i could be accommodated. I did say i had no issue looking for another job more suitable but was told this was not required. Last week my team leader messaged to say i will have to do nights through the week now and what nights would be best for me? Iam so upset that it has been left until now . I said i will do whatever as school holidays coming up but god knows where im putting her. I then messaged to say i was worried when kids go back to school as obviously nowhere babysits overnight . She said the rota has to be fair. Im angry as i spoke about my problems in october and im getting hit with this now. Please can you help???
Blue eyes - 23-Jun-17 @ 7:09 PM
I have worked with my company for over a year and a half I helped out one week with a night shift as my sister was on holidays from work now they are trying to teller I have to do night shift when I have no one that can look after my kids as all my family work I lost my mum 2 years ago who always looked after them I work my weekend and the other single parents don't have to so why is it any different that I can't do night shift but I always help them out when needed.
Helen - 18-Dec-16 @ 10:34 PM
Hi no one seems to share my situation and i can't find help anywhere!! I began my fantastic job with full flexibility as my ex partner was unemployed and the arrangement was for him to take care of our children whilst i worked which i assumed was mutually beneficial, the hours range from 7am to 8pm and involve many weekends. His increasing unwillingness to have the children and unreliability caused me to drop my hours and my employer has been completely understanding however now that my ex has a job he is only picking the children up from school 2 days per week and no weekends and is being very unreasonable and willing to co-oporate and his unwillingness to discuss weekends off with his employer has caused alot of stress and I am expected at work to work some weekends and I do not know where to turn as he has no obligation what so ever to co-oporate with me or to help me pay for childcare! Thats life as he puts it. I have run out of options and dont know where to turn!!!
Kayting - 16-Apr-16 @ 9:49 AM
Laura - Your Question:
Hi, I was employed as a full time support worker and after I passed my probation period I had to change my hours to bank hours where I pick up shifts instead of being garenteed hours each month/week due to not having much help with babysitters for my 2yr old, I also found out I was pregnant when I changed my hours and am being told I am not entitled to maternity or SMP even though I started my employment June 2015 and am 20weeks pregnant what do I do?

Our Response:
You should check your contract terms are you classified as a "casual worker" or "zero hours worker" now? In general to qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay you must have average earnings that are at least the lower earnings limit for National Insurance (£112 per week) for the 15 weeks before the baby is due. Average earnings for SMP are calculated over eight weeks using paydays up to and including the 15th week.
LawAndParents - 8-Apr-16 @ 12:09 PM
Hi, I was employed as a full time support worker and after I passed my probation period I had to change my hours to bank hours where I pick up shifts instead of being garenteed hours each month/week due to not having much help with babysitters for my 2yr old, I also found out I was pregnant when I changed my hours and am being told I am not entitled to maternity or SMP even though I started my employment June 2015 and am 20weeks pregnant what do I do?
Laura - 6-Apr-16 @ 11:51 PM
Working mom - Your Question:
Hi, I'm a working mom with part time contract. I has saved my allocated holidays for school summer holiday to be able to look after my son, but when I requested for holiday 6 months in advance, I have been rejected for not having enough stuff to cover my shifts. The Costco manager attitude toward the matter was offensive. He replied to my request," I run a business and to me you and your problem of child care is outsider!!" So the company now spread my holiday over months till August , 2 or 3 days a week here and there. I was wondering if there is any way to deal with this kind of attitude toward a mother who hasn't got any family or friends around to help her over summer school holidays.Many thnks

Our Response:
An employer can decide when you should take your annual leave. If however, you feel you are being discriminated against as a parent, then you should If you think you’ve been unfairly discriminated against you can talk to your employer first to try and sort out the problem informally. If things can’t be sorted out informally, talk to Acas, Citizens Advice or a trade union representative.
LawAndParents - 6-Apr-16 @ 12:47 PM
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