Small businesses urged to seek employment law advice: Recent changes in employment law regarding the rights of working parents could prove complicated for small business owners, according to a local human resources expert.
Emma Fay, director of The HR Dept Wilmslow, believes that although large firms may take the new rules in their stride, smaller companies may struggle to keep up with the changes.
She says: “Larger companies with in-house HR personnel have the time and resources to familiarise themselves with new employment legislation. The danger for small businesses is that if they don’t get acquainted with new rules at the onset, then they may get a shock later on.
“There have been some significant changes in employment law in recent months, with the introduction of shared parental leave, new legislation for unpaid parental leave, and enhancements to the rights of adoptive parents. This is a lot for employers to take on board.”
The HR Dept Wilmslow is urging local SMEs to seek advice on how to handle the recent changes in employment law. The company is offering outsourced professional support by guiding small businesses through a three-step action plan.
Emma Fay says: “Firstly, it’s important to understand the change. Secondly, businesses need to get some policies in place and communicate them to employees. Thirdly, it’s important to make any contingency arrangements required for the business to continue to operate efficiently.”
The following is The HR Dept’s summary of the recent changes in employment law:
Introduction of shared parental leave: Allows parents to split up to 52 weeks of leave between them when a child is born. This offers parents more flexibility and has the potential to make life more difficult for employers.
Extension to unpaid parental leave: Parents have the right to take up to 18 weeks of unpaid parental leave. Pre-April 2015 this only applied in the case of children aged under five. It has now been extended to cover parents of all children under the age of 18.
Changes to adoptive parents rights: Parents are no longer required to have 26 weeks’ service in order to take adoption leave. Statutory adoption pay has increased. Parents are now entitled to paid time off to get to know the child prior to the adoption.
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