Some legislation came into force recently which has not been particularly well publicised and has largely gone under the radar; the statutory right for fathers and partners to take time off to attend ante-natal, adoption and surrogacy appointments.
- Pregnant women are already entitled to reasonable paid time off to attend ante-natal appointments, and now for the first time husbands, partners and civil partners may have time off to accompany their other half to up to two appointments – this time is unpaid. Previously any time off would have to have been at the employer’s discretion or taken as holiday.
- Employees adopting a child can now take time off too. The main adopter is entitled to paid time off for up to five appointments and their partner can take unpaid time off for up to two.
- Surrogacy has also been captured under the new rules – the surrogate herself is naturally entitled to all of the normal maternity rights, but in addition the surrogate parents may both attend up to 2 unpaid ante-natal or maternity related appointments, provided they satisfy the conditions, and intend to apply, for a Parental Order for the child.
As has always been the case, it is reasonable for employers to require that the employees provide reasonable notice of, and also ask for documentation detailing appointments. Where it is reasonable to do so the employer may refuse the time off requested.
If you have any queries or of further questions regarding any of the above, don’t hesitate to get in touch!