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Legislation Affecting Work-Life Balance

Part-time workers (Prevention of less favourable treatment) Regulations 2000
This provision ensures that part time workers are treated no less favourably, in their terms and conditions of employment, than their comparable full-time colleagues. 
• Part-time employees are entitled to the same hourly rate of pay for normal hours and overtime as comparable full time employees (only if working above full time hours). Part-time employees should have the same access to pension schemes, to annual leave and maternity/paternity leave, sick pay and access to training and promotion.
• Part-time employees should not be selected for redundancy on the grounds that they are part-time.
• Leave entitlement, including bank holidays, should be calculated on a pro-rata basis.

Working Time Regulations 1998
In October 1998, the Government introduced the Working Time Directive, giving employees protection against working excessive hours.
• Worker's time cannot exceed an average of 48 hours/week for each seven day period normally calculated over a standard 17 week reference period (unless another reference period is agreed) and employees are protected by regulations which govern daily and weekly rest breaks during day and night shifts. (20 minute break must be taken in any 6 hour shift).
• Employer's duties are to offer holiday entitlement to ensure that every worker can take four weeks holiday each year (pro-rata if part-time).
• An employee may opt-out (by signing an agreement saying he/she does not wish to be protected in this way), however, there is protection for individual employees from dismissal or detriment if they refuse or withdraw their opt-out.

Parental Leave
The right to parental leave entitles employees with parental responsibility (mothers, fathers and those who have obtained formal parental responsibility for a child under the Children Act) to take parental leave, to care for each child born. Parents may take leave as soon as the child is born or placed for adoption, or as soon as they have completed one year's service (whichever is the later).
• Employees are entitled to 13 weeks unpaid parental leave for each child, to be taken in blocks or multiples of one week and no more than 4 weeks can be taken in any one year.
• 21 days notice must be given to the employer of the intention to take leave.
• Legislation Affecting Work-Life Balance
• In the case of children with registered disability, parents can take 18 weeks leave up to the child's 18th birthday and leave does not have to be taken in blocks of weeks, and with multiple births, each parent can take 13 weeks for each child.
• Parental leave is taken to care for the child, which can include making arrangements for the good of the child. It may just be to allow a parent to spend more time with a young child, or to check out new schools, to spend time with a child that has been hospitalised, or to settle a child into new childcare arrangements.
• Parental leave may be unpaid or paid dependent on the organisation.

Time off for dependants
Employees have the right to take a reasonable time off work to deal with an emergency involving a dependant, without being victimised.
• A dependant is the partner, child or parent of the employee, or someone who lives with the employee as part of their family. It can also mean a person who relies on the employee as their primary carer or the only person available to help in an emergency.
• Time off for dependant leave may be unpaid, or paid depending upon the employer. The employee needs to tell their employer as soon as possible why they are taking time off.

The Employment Act 2002
The Employment Act 2002 introduced new employment legislation specifically to help working parents. Since 6th April 2003, parents with young and disabled children have had more choice and more support than ever before to balance childcare and work in ways that benefits everyone: employers, employees and their children.
• Parents with children aged under the age of 6, and disabled children under the age of 18, have the legal right to request flexible working.
• Maternity pay increased. Subject to their level of earnings, all new mothers are entitled to 6 months paid leave and can take another 6 months unpaid leave, if they qualify. Mothers who have not earned enough to qualify for statutory maternity pay may be entitled to Maternity Allowance.
• New fathers have the right to two weeks paid paternity leave at a rate equivalent to statutory maternity pay.
• Parents who adopt also have new rights, similar to maternity and paternity pay and leave.
• The process for maternity, paternity and adoption leave has been simplified to make it easier for companies to handle applications.

Work and Families Act 2006
The Government will be adding to The Employment Act 2002 with the implementation of the Work and Families Bill. Key measures include;
• Extended maternity and adoption pay from April 2007.
• Offer fathers additional paternity leave, some of which may be paid, from April 2007.
• Extend the right to request flexible working to carers of adults from April 2007.

Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003
Gives protection against discrimination and harassment on the grounds of religion or belief.

Race Relations Act 1976
Makes it unlawful to discriminate, either directly or indirectly, against an individual on grounds of race, colour, nationality (including citizenship) or ethnic or national origin. Individuals are protected from discrimination, victimisation and harassment.

Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA)
Makes it unlawful to discriminate on the grounds of disability and imposes a duty on employers to make reasonable adjustments to practices, policies, procedures and premises in order to ensure that the disabled person is not at a substantial disadvantage. Individuals are protected from discrimination and victimisation in recruitment, terms and conditions of employment, training, promotion, transfer and dismissal.

Work Life Balance Legislation Update 2007
New legislation has been introduced from April 2007, in recognition of the needs of the diverse workforce in Wales. Ever more employers are recognising the business benefits that effective work life balance policies can bring them: staff retention, lower absence levels, higher productivity and a wider choice of recruitment candidates.

Work and Families Act 2006
Added to The Employment Act 2002. New measures came in to force in October 2006 but apply to babies due on or after 1 April 2007.
• Statutory Maternity Pay and Statutory Adoption Pay extended to 39 weeks
• Length of service requirement for additional maternity leave removed
• Optional keeping in touch days have been introduced enabling a woman to work for up to 10 days during her maternity leave period without losing her SMP
• The notice a woman must give if she is changing her date of return from maternity leave has been increased from 28 days to 8 weeks
• Additional Paternity Leave and Pay will entitle employed fathers to a new right of up to 26 weeks
• Additional Paternity Leave, some of which could be paid, if the mother returns to work

The right to request flexible working has also been extended to carers from 6 April 2007. The definition of carer is an employee who is or expects to be caring for an adult who:
• is married to, or the partner or civil partner of the employee; or
• is a near relative of the employee; or
• falls into neither category but lives at the same address as the employee.

Gender Equality Duty 2007
• Requires public authorities to promote gender equality and eliminate sex discrimination. Instead of depending on individuals making complaints about sex discrimination, the duty places the legal responsibility on public authorities to demonstrate that they treat men and women fairly. The duty affects policy making, public services, such as transport, and employment practices such as recruitment and flexible working.

Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006
• Gives protection against discrimination and harassment on the grounds of age. The regulations also introduce a national default retirement age of 65. Employees have the right to request to work beyond this age or any other retirement age set by their organisation.

Disability Equality Duty 2006
• Ensures that all public bodies - such as central or local government, schools, health trusts or emergency services - pay 'due regard' to the promotion of equality for disabled people in every area of their work.
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