Employers have various obligations towards employees who are pregnant, have had a new baby (including by surrogacy and adoption), or need time off to care for their baby or older child. These obligations give important protections to employees through a range of different parental rights.
These rights extend to gender diverse parents, same-sex partners, and civil partners, not only heterosexual and married couples
The following articles help explain some of the rights you have as a birth or non-birth parent of a child and provide information to help you understand these rights, which include:
- Protection while you are pregnant at work, maternity leave and pay including your rights on and your return to work.
- Adoption leave and pay (general advice relating to adoption can be found here).
- Rights for surrogate parents.
- Eligibility for various government childcare schemes such as free childcare, tax-free childcare and working tax credit (general advice regarding all of the possible schemes are available here).
- Flexible working hours in order to care for children (specific guidance surrounding how to obtain and negotiate flexible working hours can be found here).
- Flexible working and time off work for parents and carers of disabled children.
In addition to the above, non-birth partners may be able to take paternity leave and pay as well as having access to certain benefits, provided you meet the relevant criteria (e.g. length of service). You need not be the father or male to take advantage of paternity leave – you need only be the partner of the birth mother, an adopter or the intended parent of the child.
Details of benefits to support non-birth parents are:
- Shared parental leave
- Parental leave for both birth and adoption
- Time off for dependants
- Paternity pay and leave for both birth and adoption (this includes attending up to two antenatal appointments)
In addition to the above rights for employees having or with children, there are wider protections in place to protect employees and workers against discrimination, harassment and victimisation in the workplace on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. An explanation of the main rights and policies that workplaces should have in place along with what to do in the situation where you believe you have or may have been discriminated against, harassed or victimised can be found here with some specific resources below:
- Not be unfairly treated on the basis of sexual orientation which can cover Discrimination, Harassment and Victimisation
- The same rights as all parents not to be discriminated on the basis of taking shared parental leave or maternity leave as well as being pregnant.
This advice applies in England, Wales and Scotland. If you live in another part of the UK, the law may differ. Please call our helpline for more details.
If you have further questions and would like to contact our advice team please use our advice contact form below or call us.