What are the changes to the family-friendly legal framework?


In a redundancy situation, pregnant employees who notify their employer of their pregnancy on or after 6th April 2024 have priority for any suitable alternative vacancy that is available. Employees returning to work on or after 6th April 2024 from a period of maternity or adoption leave, or a period of shared parental leave lasting at least six consecutive weeks, have priority for any suitable alternative vacancy that is available. This protection will usually end 18 months after the date of the child’s birth or the day the child is placed with the employee for adoption.

Paternity leave

Eligible employees may take statutory paternity leave as two separate blocks of one whole week if they wish. The period within which statutory paternity leave must be taken has increased from 56 days to 52 weeks from the birth or adoption placement. The notification requirements were also relaxed, so that employees only need to give four weeks’ notice of a proposed period of leave. These new rules apply where the expected week of childbirth or adoption placement falls on or after 6th April 2024.

Flexible working

The right to make a flexible working request became a day-one employment right. Various changes were also made to the flexible working request process, which make it less onerous for employees.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has updated its guidance on the family-friendly legal framework to reflect the changes made on 6th April 2024. The updated guidance provides worked examples of typical scenarios and highlights good practice.

EHRC Guidance – Pregnancy and maternity: pregnancy

EHRC Guidance – Pregnancy, adoption and maternity: return to work

EHRC Guidance – Maternity, paternity, adoption or shared parental leave and pay