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Family friendly rights in the workplace

By Natasha Smith, Senior Associate

Some important changes came into effect in employment law from 6 April 2024, which primarily focus on the extension of family friendly rights in the workplace.

Flexible working requests

  • A ‘day 1’ right, removing the need to have a minimum of 26 weeks’ employment.
  • Staff can make two requests in any 12-month period, as opposed to one.
  • Employers must deal with requests within two months, not three months.
  • Staff no longer have to explain what effect their request has on the organisation.

The eight business reasons an organisation previously had available to reject a flexible working request have not changed, and employers should remember that an employee’s right to request flexible working is not the same as having a right to have the request agreed. However, they should prepare for a potential increase in requests and ensure policies and processes comply.

Carers Leave

  • Employees can take one weeks’ unpaid leave every 12 months to give or arrange care for a dependent.
  • A dependent is somebody who has a physical or mental illness/injury that they are expected to require care for more than three months, someone who has a disability or someone who has care needs due to old age. They do not need to be a family member.
  • Leave does not have to be taken as a whole week – it can be taken in single or half days throughout the year.

The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023

  • Introduces the ‘protected period’ during pregnancy. It applies during pregnancy, maternity leave and for six months after maternity leave ends.
  • In the event of redundancies during the protected period, priority to those in the protected period be offered a suitable alternative role (if there is one) must be given.

If you wish to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to contact Natasha Smith on email: or tel: 01892 515022

This blog is not intended as legal advice that can be relied upon and CooperBurnett LLP does not accept any responsibility for the accuracy of its contents.

This blog was originally published in the Tunbridge Wells Business Magazine:

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May 21, 2024
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