As most parents know juggling your professional and personal life isn’t easy but here are a few things that may life a little easier.
All working parents have the right to work flexible hours in order to ensure that their children are properly looked after. Many working parents in the United Kingdom have to work long hours and indeed in some instances two jobs to be able to provide a stable financial back drop against which to bring up their children. So with this in mind the government have introduced legislation that enables both parents to work a set number of hours (agreeable with their employer) in a slightly less formal structure. This could allow a parent to work part-time hours during the course of a week starting at 9am and finishing at 3pm; alternatively flexible working arrangements may allow for a parent to come into work later on a morning to allow transporting their children to school or a child minder.
Maternity Leave also known as Statutory Maternity Pay can be paid for up to thirty nine weeks after the birth of the baby. As a working parent a mother is entitled to maternity leave and statutory maternity pay if she has been in constant employment with the same company or organisation for twenty six weeks prior to the fifteenth week of her pregnancy.
In the last few years the legislation controlling the rights of fathers has changed to ensure that fathers can have paid leave to spend with their children after they are born. This is referred to as paternity leave and is paid at the same rates as maternity pay although only for one to two weeks. A father can spend one to two weeks at home with his newborn child if he is the childâ€™s biological father or married to the childâ€™s mother.
Although adoptive leave is right of any parent it is not always paid for and will only be paid for if there are already arrangements and agreements in place with your employer. As with maternity and paternity leave you must be employed by your current employer for twenty six weeks prior to becoming the child’s adoptive parent. An adoptive parent is entitled to up to thirty nine weeks leave which is paid at a flat rate known as Statutory Adoptive Pay. In order to qualify for adoptive leave you must notify your employer well in advance that you are being matched to a child for adoption. This allows them to make the necessary arrangements but also if their terms and conditions state you are entitled to Statutory Adoptive Pay.
In addition to these laws if you are entitled to Working Tax Credits you can claim up to 80% of the childcare costs providing that your childcare provider is registered (most nurseries, playgroups and after school clubs are registered) if you are unsure if your daycare provider is registered just ask them.
All of the aforementioned rights are afforded to working parents in the United Kingdom and if you are an expectant mother or proud father-to-be then you should investigate the terms and conditions of your employment and enquire as to whether or not these working rights are supported by your employer.
If however you are not sure then you should contact your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau who will be able to help you find out what you are entitled to and will also be able to help with understanding the terms and conditions of your contract of employment.
Your local office of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will also be able to assist you with advice on benefits and additional monies for low income families.