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Antenatal, Adoption & Surrogacy Rights

14th October 2015 Nick Murrell, Veale Wasbrough Vizards

A useful insight into rules and regulations around antenatal, adoption and surrogacy rights and what family businesses need to know.

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) has recently published two guides explaining the rights to leave for attending antenatal and adoption appointments and on surrogacy.

It is important that all family business owners are aware of these rights and put in place appropriate measures, particularly in smaller businesses, where time away from work could have a significant impact.

What is the guidance?

The guidance follows a change to the law that introduced a right for fathers, partners and civil partners to take time off to attend antenatal appointments from October 2014, and to take time off to attend adoption appointments from 5 April 2015. These rights are subject to an employer's right to refuse to allow the time off where it is reasonable to do so.

The guidance highlights the following important points:

  • Pregnant employees are entitled to reasonable paid time off for antenatal care. For a first baby, women can expect to have up to ten antenatal appointments and they will need to show documentation confirming appointments to their employer after their first appointment.

  • Fathers, partners and civil partners of pregnant women are entitled to unpaid time off to attend two antenatal appointments.

  • Surrogate parents could also be entitled to attend two unpaid antenatal appointments if they expect to satisfy the conditions for a Parental Order and intend to apply for one for the child.

  • Employees who are adopting a new child are entitled to take paid time off too. The main adopter is allowed to take paid time off for up to five appointments and their partner is entitled to take unpaid time off for up to two appointments.

  • Time off for each appointment is capped at six and a half hours.

It is important that family businesses and their employees are aware of these rights so that they can be implemented and enforced properly.  As a matter of best practice family business owners should consider implementing and/or updating their policies to reflect the new guidance.

A team of specialist employment lawyers can prepare a policy that is adapted to your needs and are also on hand to address any specific queries you may have on the guidance.

About the Author - Nick Murrell works for Veale Wasbrough Vizards.  If you would like more information, please contact Nick via email at nmurrell@vwv.co.uk

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