Data file: maternity and paternity rights

The Employment Bill 2002 received the Royal Assent on 8 July. It has made some
significant changes to the rights of mothers and fathers in the workplace.
These should have an effect from April 2003.

For parents

– Working mothers will be entitled to six months’ paid and six months’
unpaid maternity leave

– The standard rate of statutory maternity pay and maternity allowance will
increase from £75 to £100

– Working fathers will be entitled to two weeks’ paid paternity leave

– Working adoptive parents will be entitled to six months’ paid and a
further six months’ unpaid leave

– Simplified rules governing maternity, paternity and adoption leave and pay

– Paternity and adoption pay will be paid at the same rate as maternity pay.
Couples decide who is entitled to adoptive leave and topaternity leave

– Parents of young children will have a right to apply for flexible workingl
Employers will have a duty to give serious consideration to flexible working
requests from parents of young children.

– Employers will only be able to refuse requests where they have a clear
business reason

For business

– New parents will be encouraged to stay in work rather than leave to care
full time for their new families

– Increased notification periods for a woman’s start and early return date
from maternity leave

– Advance recovery of statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay from
the Inland Revenue

– Reimbursement of maternity, paternity and adoption payments made by
employers, with a full 100 per cent recoverable by small employers and a
further compensation payment on top


– CCH Maternity Manual published by Croner.CCH ( This
is a clear and practical guide drawing on the author’s first-hand practical
experience. It is published in a loose-leaf format with quarterly updates.

– Tolley’s Employment Law is a loose-leaf volume with an updating service
published by LexisNexis Butterworths Tolley
( Probably more suited to lawyers than HR
professionals. But, it does have an extremely useful question and answer
section that provides common sense solutions to practical workplace dilemmas.


– IDS Brief published by Incomes Data Services ( is a
twice monthly digest of case law, news and reviews and is essential reading for
employment lawyers and HR professionals.

– Maternity Newsletter is published by Croner.  CCH 10 times a year and is a valuable companion to the Maternity

Specialist sources

Employment Lawyers Association.
Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

General interest

The Maternity Alliance looks at pregnancy and new parenthood, 020 7588 8582.
Rightsnet provides information on welfare rights, specifically aimed at advice

Other sources

The Department for Work and Pensions
The Employment Service
Department for Trade and Industry
Department for Education and Skills
Health and Safety Executive
Equal Opportunities Commission
Confederation of British Industry
The Trades Union Congress
The Employers’ Organisation for Local Government

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