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New right to time off to accompany a woman to ante-natal appointments

Posted by TonyBrownEmploymentSolicitor on September 16, 2014

From 1 October 2014, an expectant father or the partner (including same sex) of a pregnant woman will be entitled to take unpaid time off work to accompany the woman to up to 2 of her ante-natal appointments.  

“Partner” includes the spouse or civil partner of the pregnant woman and a person (of either sex) in a long term relationship with her.

An employer is not entitled to ask for evidence of the ante-natal appointments, such as an appointment card, but is entitled to ask the employee for a declaration stating the date and time of the appointment, that the employee qualifies to take time off through his or her relationship with the mother or child, and that the time off is for the purpose of attending an ante-natal appointment with the expectant mother that has been made on the advice of a registered medical practitioner, nurse or midwife.

Employees and agency workers will be entitled to the right to time off. There is no qualifying period for employees. This is a “day one” right. However, agency workers must have been working for the hirer for at least 12 weeks.

Anyone denied the right to time off can bring a claim to an employment tribunal. If the tribunal upholds the complaint it must award compensation calculated as twice the hourly rate of pay for each of the hours that the person would have taken off if the right had been respected.