The Government has launched a consultation this week on plans for making employment practices more flexible and pro-family. The proposal includes changes to the current parental leave, flexible working regulations, the Working Time Regulations and equal pay and is a part of their vision to create a modern workplace for the modern economy.
Under the proposal, fathers will receive an extra four weeks’ paid paternity leave, taking their basic entitlement to six week in total. No changes are planned to the mothers’ current right to 18 weeks leave, however couples could decide between themselves how to divide up the remainder of the parental leave term. In addition, the consultation considers whether parental leave could be broken into two or more periods.
The Government’s proposes giving the right to request a flexible working arrangement to all employees. The current flexible working regulations are only applicable to employees who are parents of children under 17 or parents of disabled children under 18. It was suggested that employers would be allowed to prioritise any competing requests to take into account employees’ personal circumstances. This would mean in practice that those making a request due to parenting or caring responsibilities could be given higher priority than those making a request for other lifestyle reasons.
The proposed changes will also ensure that the Working Time Regulations comply with recent judgments in the European Court of Justice relating to the interaction of annual leave with sick leave, maternity/paternity leave and other parental leave. Employers will be able to insist that any annual leave that has not been taken due to sickness absence must be taken in the current leave year where possible, rather than being carried forward.
With regards to the equal pay, the proposal suggests that employers who lose an equal pay claim in an Employment Tribunal will have to conduct a pay audit, unless the Tribunal is satisfied that it would not be productive to do so or where such an audit has already been conducted in the previous three years.
The full document can be found at
According to the UK Minister of Employment Relations, Mr Eward Davey, “[flexible working] offers businesses an access to a wider pull of potential employees. It allows business to hold on to experienced and skilled staff, increases productivity, boosts morale, reduces absenteeism and increases staff engagement”. However, modern workplace plans raise many concerns amongst employers. More flexibility results in increased uncertainty, increased administration time and additional costs.
So what’s the solution?
Introducing flexible working practices could be simpler than you think. By having an in place you can be customise it to match your specific working patterns and Working Time Regulations, supporting flexi-time and shift work across multiple sites and pay centres, while seamlessly integrating it with your other HR and Payroll systems.
Web-based and Mobile Time and Attendance applications would allow remote clocking from desktop PCs, laptops and the latest smart phones – enabling staff to clock in and out of tasks, appointments and projects whether they are in the office, working from home or out on the road.
In addition, by eliminating the manual calculation of working hours, an effective will minimize the administrative work involved with payroll processing, and thus save the Payroll Department from unnecessary stress and hardship as they generate the pay run.
Meanwhile, an, would allow your staff to manage their own attendance information in a controlled, accessible and efficient way. Employees could simply access the system online to view their accrued leave, entitlements, and request updates to their personal records without having to bother the HR department.
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