Home > Parent's Rights > The Rights of Working Parents

The Rights of Working Parents

By: Angela Armes - Updated: 14 Oct 2017 | 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.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
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
Leanne - Your Question:
I have a 32 hour contract and have 3 young children all under 6 and work different shifts each week sometimes when staff are on holiday I have worked 50 hours most of the time I will work upto 40 hours each week I will work weekends upto 10 pm mornings whatever I am put on I have never phoned in sick in 10 years I have worked for the company for 20 years. The only thing I have a problem with is when someome has gone off sick and my husband is working and they have told me I need you to work tomorrow and I can't because iv planned to take my children out for the day as it's the school holidays my husband is at work but I could get my mum to look after my children. But I just don't think it's fair. They told me they can do this something about 24 hours notice is this right

Our Response:
Unfortunately not, there are no real "set notice periods" relating to variable shift working. The only guidance is "reasonable notice" but there is nothing really published to define reasonable. Check you contract to make sure there is nothing written down about notice of shift changes.
LawAndParents - 22-Aug-17 @ 11:06 AM
Liz - Your Question:
I'm was carer at the care home I'm working then became a senior carer I was able to do night's because the dad was looking after my son but 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 forcing me to do night shift I can't do it because my son is 8 years and can't leave him alone in the house what should I do

Our Response:
If your contract states that you must work a night shift then there's not much you can do. You do have the right to request flexible working hours but your employer does not have to agree to this. You should negotiate with the father also, to see whether he is able to change his shifts back.
LawAndParents - 21-Aug-17 @ 2:40 PM
I have a 32 hour contract and have 3 young children all under 6 and work different shifts each week sometimes when staff are on holiday I have worked 50 hours most of the time I will work upto 40 hours each week I will work weekends upto 10 pm mornings whatever I am put on I have never phoned in sick in 10 years I have worked for the company for 20 years . The only thing I have a problem with is when someome has gone off sick and my husband is working and they have told me I need you to work tomorrow and I can't because iv planned to take my children out for the day as it's the school holidays my husband is at work but I could get my mum to look after my children . But I just don't think it's fair . They told me they can do this something about 24 hours notice is this right
Leanne - 19-Aug-17 @ 4:37 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
gar - Your Question:
I work in a dental practice. I started of 5 days a week until I had my daughter in May 2015. After maternity leave I had a meeting with my manager to agree to a 4 day week Monday to Thursday with a Friday off. Now they are wanting me to change my day off but I am not able to do it because of my childcare and they are now reverting to use my Monday - friday contract. What do I do

Our Response:
Were you issue with a new contract when the changes were made? Was there a clause which stated the part time hours were for a specific period or as a trial? If so, your employer could revert to your original contract after a discussion with you. If not, your employer will need to get your consent before they can implement changes.
LawAndParents - 31-Jul-17 @ 11:44 AM
I work in a dental practice . I started of 5 days a week until I had my daughter in May 2015 . After maternity leave I had a meeting with my manager to agree to a 4 day week Monday to Thursday with a Friday off. Now they are wanting me to change my day off but I am not able to do it because of my childcare and they are now reverting to use my Monday - friday contract . What do I do
gar - 27-Jul-17 @ 4:15 PM
Blue eyes - Your Question:
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???

Our Response:
All you can do is apply for flexible working hours to suit your childcare. You should apply for this officially under theEmployment Rights Acts 1996 and the Flexible Working Regulations 2014. Your employer has to give your request due consideration and if refusing, must come up with good business reasons as to why. If your request is granted officially, you should have your contract amended to reflect the new working hours so that if your employer did not stick to the hours, it would result in a breach of contract. If your employer refuses to do this, there's not really much you can about it unfortunately.
LawAndParents - 26-Jun-17 @ 2:19 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
Single mum- Your Question:
Hi I'm currantly contracted to 40 hours I've applied for flexible working term time, still doing 40 hours,due to become a single parent a year ago Im constantly struggling to pay bills, childcare and this is getting me down, I have no other support.I know this is going to be refused, what are my rights

Our Response:
Your employer must give your request due consideration and must give a good reason for refusing. If your employer does refuse, there's not much you can do about it unfortunately. Instead of asking for term time only work (which most non-education based employers would consider impractical), maybe it's worth asking for school hours in term time or a 3 day week during school holiday periods etc?
LawAndParents - 24-Feb-17 @ 11:43 AM
Hi I'm currantly contracted to 40 hours I've applied for flexible working term time, still doing 40 hours,due tobecome a single parent a year ago Im constantly struggling to pay bills, childcare and this is getting me down, I have no other support . I know this is going to be refused, what are my rights
Single mum - 21-Feb-17 @ 8:27 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
monie - Your Question:
Hi, I work part time from 08.30-3.15 3 days a week, so I can fit around the school times. I have done this job for a year, and iam on a perm contract. We had a meeting 2 weeks ago to tell us that nights were going and that all part timers would have to do 13 hours a week. This is a drop of 5 hours a week. I had a meeting with my boss on friday, and was told that they would give me 13 hours a week until october, then I would either have to go on zero hours or leave. Can you tell me can they do this.

Our Response:
Yes this is a breach of your employment contract. Ask your trade union rep' what the union is doing about this. If you don't have a trade union, you should call ACAS on 0300 123 1100 for advice on how to complain about a breach of contract.
LawAndParents - 28-Jun-16 @ 10:19 AM
Hi, i work part time from 08.30-3.15 3 days a week, so i can fit around the school times. I have done this job for a year, and iam on a perm contract. We had a meeting 2 weeks ago to tell us that nights were going and that all part timers would have to do 13 hours a week. This is a drop of 5 hours a week. I had a meeting with my boss on friday, and was told that they would give me 13 hours a week until october, then i would either have to go on zero hours or leave. Can you tell me can they do this.
monie - 26-Jun-16 @ 11:13 AM
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
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
Working mom - 4-Apr-16 @ 9:42 AM
My husband is in full time work our young boys came down with suspected Scarlett fever. I also became very ill on the same day, unable to look after ours boys. I had a fever and very bad aches. I later in the day found something on my boob (got it checked out the following day turned out to be mastitis) Anyway I begged my hubby to stay at home this one day to help look after are boys as I was too unwell. This is the first time he's had a day off too help in child care issues. He emailed them to let them know as we don't have a land line or phone credit. On he's next working day he had a 'back to work' interview??? Where he was made to feel the need to lie and say he was ill as these interviews are only held when you have been ill yourself. And now he's been called to a meeting as he emailed and didn't phone?? He used to only means possible to let them know
Stacey - 31-Mar-16 @ 9:08 AM
I had not long started with a new employer before going on my 39 week ML , i was still in the middle of my trail peroid with them when i went on ML .while i was on leave i used 4 of my keep in touch with my workplace and checked in with the boss on a regular basics .I returned to work 8 weeks ago , to find that my boss had taken on another front desk clerk and that my hours had been dropped by an 1 and half a week as well ( i'm on an 14.5 hour per week on contact but use to often work between 17-19 per week in overtime) . Ever since my return my boss as been fishing for any faults in my work or work parttens - am often being used now as the first point of call for any mistake that the other two front clerk make - she is just assuming it is me ( other am not even on the shifts these things have happened) . my mother looks after my 10 month old little girl while i work and i often tendto be late in picking her up cause all of the little extra's my boss wishes done at the end of each shift . my boss has made catty comments about the fact my childcare arrangements . my boss in passing made a comment about need to look at my hours again , i said will if you looking at the hours anyway , would it be possible for me to have one day per a week of back to back shifts to make childcare easier on my mum - as my shifts as all over the place atm and my boss keep making changes to the rota at the very last mintue .i'm now feel like am being forced out or forced to hand in my notice . Is there anything i can do ?
scottishsinglemother - 10-Jan-16 @ 9:14 PM
I had not long started with a new employer before going on my 39 week ML , i was still in the middle of my trail peroid with them when i went on ML .while i was on leave i used 4 of my keep in touch with my workplace and checked in with the boss on a regular basics .I returned to work 8 weeks ago , to find that my boss had taken on another front desk clerk and that my hours had been dropped by an 1 and half a week as well ( i'm on an 14.5 hour per week on contact but use to often work between 17-19 per week in overtime) . Ever since my return my boss as been fishing for any faults in my work or work parttens - am often being used now as the first point of call for any mistake that the other two front clerk make - she is just assuming it is me ( other am not even on the shifts these things have happened) . my mother looks after my 10 month old little girl while i work and i often tendto be late in picking her up cause all of the little extra's my boss wishes done at the end of each shift . my boss has made catty comments about the fact my childcare arrangements . my boss in passing made a comment about need to look at my hours again , i said will if you looking at the hours anyway , would it be possible for me to have one day per a week of back to back shifts to make childcare easier on my mum - as my shifts as all over the place atm and my boss keep making changes to the rota at the very last mintue .i'm now feel like am being forced out or forced to hand in my notice . Is there anything i can do ?
scottishsinglemother - 10-Jan-16 @ 9:14 PM
annabennetts - Your Question:
Hi my area manager has asked my manager to have a talk to me this is because I had to leave work early as my daughters nursery had rang to say she had been sick and she does need to be picked up with in the hour I dont know what they expected me to do I didnt have anyone elae that could get her what can they do if this happens again

Our Response:
You are allowed time off to deal with an emergency involving your children. This time off should be to simply deal with the emergency (e.g you're expected to find someone else to care for the child one the emergency period is over). Your employer does not have to pay you for this time off. If this happens regularly and it affects the efficient running of the organisation, your employer can take further action. You should try and make sure you have back-up for situations like this (e.g your child's father, a grandparent, friend or relative could be given the password to collect your child from nursery). Obviously in situations where emergency hospital treatment is needed, you would want to be the person to take them...you will find it much easier to get time off for this, if you have someone else in place for the non-emergency situations.
LawAndParents - 18-Nov-15 @ 10:26 AM
Hi my area manager has asked my manager to have a talk to me this is because i had to leave work early as my daughters nursery had rang to say she had been sick and she does need to be picked up with in the hour i dont know what they expected me to do i didnt have anyone elae that could get her what can they do if this happens again
annabennetts - 15-Nov-15 @ 1:34 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the LawAndParents website. Please read our Disclaimer.