Thousands of working parents stand to benefit from new rights to more maternity and paternity leave and pay after the Work and Families Bill received Royal Assent last night.
Businesses will also benefit from a package of measures designed to make life easier for employers, the government said.
For the first time, carers of adults will be given a right to request flexible working. Working mothers will benefit from nine months’ statutory maternity pay and fathers will benefit from plans to introduce a new right giving them extended paternity leave.
The new laws also see the introduction of ‘Keeping in Touch’ days so that where employees and employers agree, a women on maternity leave can go into work for a few days, without losing her right to maternity leave or a week’s statutory pay.
Trade and industry secretary Alistair Darling said: “Thousands of working families and carers are set to benefit from the legislation.
“The government recognises the difficulties many face in trying to juggle work and family life, and the new rights will help make life easier for people across the country.”