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The Rights of Working Parents

By: Angela Armes - Updated: 13 Oct 2018 | 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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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
Hello, am I within my rights to ask my manager to reduce my hours. I currently work Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. I have no set hours and can sometimes finish at 7pm I never know where my location is till the day.Trouble is my partner normally works from home on Mondays, but that's about to change and he will have to start working back in London, and will get home at 8.00pm. After school club closes at 6, so I'm going to struggle for evening childcare. Can I ask my boss to perhaps work 10 till 4 instead? That way I can pick my little girl up. I can't look at my contract as I havnt had one. I've been working there 17 months. I can't ask a friend or family member as there busy working themselves etc. I've struggledto get a childminder that can be available to 7.30pm...sometimes I'm even home at 8pm.
Luna - 24-Sep-18 @ 6:43 PM
When interview for new job 2 years ago I requested set nights due to being a single mother and childcare availability.This was agreed in interview. I was subsequently offered the job later and have worked 22 hrs over a 3 day availability ever since.I recently heard from new manager that I'm not contracted to this.I can't see anything in my contract saying si but recall signing something stating set nights of available.What should I do if they change my days?
Lel - 21-Sep-18 @ 9:53 AM
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
Hello, I have worked for my employer for 3 years. I am a single mum of one. I work 37.5 hours plus overtime and oncall shifts. We have an oncall system that when you are oncall you have to go into to work out of nornal working shift 8am to 8pm. My manager is giving me no choice and said I have to do oncall from home on a Sunday when I have no childcare. I am very flexible. We are given our rota Sunday evening for the week commencing. My contract states I have to participate in the oncall which I do 2 a week but I am unable to do sundays. Where do I stand with this as I can not take my 3 year old son into a hospital were I work.
Cher - 7-Jul-18 @ 12:52 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
McCull71 - Your Question:
I currently work for a well known brand in hospitality. Since staring in May 17 my contracted hours were 22.5 but it was common practice that I did in excess of 40. Company policy is your contracts are automatically changed based on a 12 previous week period with the company having the rights to drop by 10%. I have also since Oct had Sundays & Mondays as set days off according to the company policy and applies as over a 12 wk period. We have always been massively understaffed hence the increase from 22.5 to in excess of 40. I have been extremely flexible up until the Oct change which was verbally agreed by management. Due to the nature of the job Sundays are the only day where upon I get to spend quality time as a father with my daughter due to work demands and schooling. The company have now asked me to complete a flexible working hours form which in truth looks more like an application for the same position I hold. I feel pretty confident that whatever I put as a requestthat I’ll will be turned down and their excuse would be that it doesn’t suit the business needs, which is quite a get out clause for the employer. That said they will then say the hours requested they cannot give unless I move to a different department of which I have no desire to do so, with ultimately no option but to resign and the company then forcing me into an impossible financial situation regarding the ability to pay my rent etc. I know I’m not eligible to claim constructive dismissal if it comes to that because of time served, but I’d appreciate an insight as to where I legally stand with parental law incorporating the right of flexibility hours.Many Thx

Our Response:
Your employer should be able to demonstrate that their refusal is based on valid business reasons (rather than simply saying it). If nothing has changed significantly and you've been having the same days off for some time, then in theory your request should be accepted.ACAS will be able to help with further advice.
LawAndParents - 23-May-18 @ 10:58 AM
I currently work for a well known brand in hospitality.. Since staring in May 17 my contracted hours were 22.5 but it was common practice that I did in excess of 40. Company policy is your contracts are automatically changed based on a 12 previous week period with the company having the rights to drop by 10%.. I have also since Oct had Sundays & Mondays as set days off according to the company policy and applies as over a 12 wk period. We have always been massively understaffed hence the increase from 22.5 to in excess of 40. I have been extremely flexible up until the Oct change which was verbally agreed by management. Due to the nature of the job Sundays are the only day where upon I get to spend quality time as a father with my daughter due to work demands and schooling. The company have now asked me to complete a flexible working hours form which in truth looks more like an application for the same position I hold. I feel pretty confident that whatever I put as a requestthat I’ll will be turned down and their excuse would be that it doesn’t suit the business needs, which is quite a get out clause for the employer. That said they will then say the hours requested they cannot give unless I move to a different department of which I have no desire to do so, with ultimately no option but to resign and the company then forcing me into an impossible financial situation regarding the ability to pay my rent etc... I know I’m not eligible to claim constructive dismissal if it comes to that because of time served, but I’d appreciate an insight as to where I legally stand with parental law incorporating the right of flexibility hours. Many Thx
McCull71 - 21-May-18 @ 11:06 AM
Luke2758 - Your Question:
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?

Our Response:
What does your contract say? Did your employer agree to yur request at the time of making your job offer? Sorry we'd need more information to comment on this.
LawAndParents - 8-May-18 @ 12:10 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
Crossy - Your Question:
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 16 and now my work 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.

Our Response:
This will depend on your contract; if it doesn't specify one weekend a month etc, then it's difficult to argue with. You don't have a right to time for general childcare issues, but you do have a right to request flexible hours to fit in with your lifestyle etc. Your employer has to give your request proper consideration but can refuse as long as they can give a good business reason for doing so.
LawAndParents - 5-Mar-18 @ 2:55 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
I am a single parent and I work for a large retail company (Next) under head office in the quality control department and I signed a contract October 2016 for a 2pm till 8pm shift. The company has decided to shuffle everyone shifts and have eradicated some positions but also extended the opening hours of the department. They are only offering rotational shifts of 7am till 1pm one week and 4pm till 10pm the following week. Because of my 9 year old son the early shifts are impossible as childcare is from 8am and my mother currently picks him up from school for me and i collect him when i finish at 8pm to take him home and put him to bed. The new 10pm finish is going to be too late to do this. I am unsure of my rights. One union reps attitude was that it isn't the company's fault I am a single parent. I have been led to believe there is nothing i can do about the new hours they are allocating. The only alternative they have given for same hours is to move to a different warehouse but this would increase my fuel costs three fold and the time it takes to get to work. Currently it is a 7minute drive. The other warehouse is a 40 minute drive. I am on a tight budget already. Any suggestions or help would be appreciated.
Sarah - 15-Jan-18 @ 9:37 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
ive been working for a retail company one of the largest in the country fir 2 and a half years. over this time circumstances has altered my situations and my current contracted working hours has been a strain on my financial circumstances for months now. im a single parent of a 6 year old my child has now started school and my childcarecosts have changed. tax credits has overpayed me even tho i have always updated them regarding my childcare changes. im in rent arrears and housing benefit repayment arrears. im not earning enough to pay childcare on 20 hours and the company has not got any full time work that i could apply for.i last year in june requested a change in my flexibility because its not worth it working 20hrs a week , i was not earning enough to cover my rent and council tax. i had no help and every month it took all of my money and i was still left in arrears . ive had to chose what bill to pay and what i had to leave. because of all the financial hardship im facing i decided to bring all of mydebt letters to my employer just to explain all my struggles.still afterapril it will be 3 yrs my manager is still unwilling tohelp.im stressed im depressedi cant walk out of the job i dont kno what to do. i just kno im unable. I'm a single parent.i do 20 hours. i earn 580 p/m my rent p/m is £400counciltax £97 p/m. childcare i cant affordasi also have to pay£18 p/wand just to get into work for myself its £111 p/m for my travel costand £40 p/mfor my child.i receive £142 for wirking and child tax weekly which i get weekly to buy gas and electric pay water rates tv licence clothmy childwhich most times i cant even do. i have to do my shopping getting bits n bobs and even then im struggling i feel like im being forced out of myjob and also feel like my manager has not tried in as many ways to be helpful. i dont kno what to do.all i do is cry
tez - 4-Jan-18 @ 9:45 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
Hi, I quit my Job and moved from England to Wales when I was 9 months pregnant and at the same time my partner lost his job. Because I have got the better CV and education we decided that I will be back to work after birth, since I had no maternity leave rights anymore anymay. I went back to work when my Baby turned 7 weeks old and since then life is really difficult. For me as being the only earner with an £1.050 monthly income and child and working tax have beendeclined as well, as we apparently earned to much in the last tax year. And now (My Baby is 5 months old) my employer constantly forces me to work 12 hours a day. Which means often enough I don't even see my Baby awake for days. When I try to say that I can't do this over time they get really gross and ask for other days days/tomorrow. It's like this all the time and since my baby is teething I hardly sleep as well. Sometimes I nearly lose control over my car because I am just constantly tired and my Job is really exhausting itself anyway. I get really depressed and stressed out about this endless loop situation. I am working full time monday-saturday. If the contract says occasionally over time is required, do I really need to go through this all? Thanks for your help.
Aries88 - 13-Dec-17 @ 10:01 PM
Hi, I work in a factory as a machine setter on 6-2 and2-10, me partner works throw the week as well in retail doin all shifts that she gets rota in for,were struggling for child care for me 1year old boy. I've ask for a transfer to weekends so I can sort better childcare. So I've had a meeting wid me h/r department and since I've worked in a factory for 17years and on a old contract, they say I'm a cost to the business and the only way to change to weekends is if I sign a new 2012 contract which I'll lose a fare bit of money and I'll be working for nothing, plus they said to apply for a job on the board for weekendsto help my situation. Just wondered if there any further advise that I could do to sort this situation.
Bigfella - 4-Dec-17 @ 9:05 PM
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
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