Employment Law – Spring Update

Wed 17th Mar 2010

On 6 April 2010, a number of changes in employment legislation are coming into force. It is important for both employees and employers to be aware of these changes. The key changes are:

Paternity Leave

If you are parents of a child who is due on or after 3 April 2011, you will be eligible to apply for additional 6 months paternity leave provided that:

(a) you have been employed for 26 weeks;

(b) the mother or primary carer has returned to work without exercising their full entitlement to maternity leave; and

(c) the child is more than 20 weeks old, but less than 12 months old, when the paternity leave is to be taken.

This also applies to parents who are adopting children in the UK or overseas. In this situation, you must be notified of the placement on or after 3 April 2011 and leave can only be taken once the child has been placed with you for 20 weeks.

Right to Request Time off for Training or Studying

You now have the right to request time off work for training or studying which will either further your effectiveness at work or performance of your employer’s business. However, the training or studying does not have to lead to a formal qualification.

You must have been employed for 26 weeks before making the application to your, and you can only make an application once every twelve months. There are strict requirements as to the form of application, procedure to follow and notification of the employer’s decision. If an employer fails to follow the procedure, you will have the right to make a claim to the Employment Tribunal who has discretion to award up to 8 weeks pay by way of compensation.

Further, if you are dismissed as a result of making an application, the dismissal will automatically be unfair.

The New “Fit Note”

GP’s will no longer issue medical certificates for periods of sick leave. Instead, a GP will issue a “Fit Note” confirming whether you are:

(a) not fit for work

(b) may be fit for work

(c) may be fit for work taking account of the following advice…

The Government is hoping that the new process will encourage communication between GP/Patient and Employer/Employee to help facilitate the employee’s return to work.

Please do not hesitate to contact the Employment Team on 01872 246 200 if you require any further information on the above.

Wed 17th Mar 2010

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