There are balancing acts going on in organisations all over the UK. Employees are looking for working arrangements which sit well with their home lives, and employers want a content workforce which doesn’t compromise on efficiency.
It’s possible to achieve all of this but it takes a good understanding of personal needs, organisational needs and the law. Employers and employees working towards putting family friendly policies in place must grasp the processes involved and the factors that are relevant to, and legitimate in, any decision-making.
There are various categories of family-friendly rights that could apply to any workplace:
- Maternity leave
- Paternity leave
- Adoption leave
- Parental leave
- Time off for dependents
- Flexible working
Each has its own qualification criteria and process. The right to request flexible working, for example, only applies to people who have worked continuously for the employer for at least 26 weeks and who have a child under six, or 18 if that child is disabled.
An employer can only refuse a request for specific reasons and failing to comply with any part of the process could result in a compensation award based on eight weeks’ pay, subject to a statutory maximum. Then there are potential discrimination claims which carry no compensation limit.
The threats don’t just lie in tribunal claims. Handling any part of the family-friendly working process badly can damage an employer in other ways too. Inconsistent treatment of staff, failing to honour agreements, not entering into the spirit of the new arrangements, can all contribute to a disgruntled workforce, as well as reflecting badly on the organisation in a broader sense too.
About our Family Friendly Policy Solicitors
Our employment lawyers guide employers through the process, helping them get the procedure – and their decisions – right. They prepare family-friendly policies which provide direction both for managers and employees, helping make sure that there is fairness, and no hint of discrimination, in the employer’s approach to every case.