What the law says

3rd March 2000 at 00:00
Most new family-friendly legislation stems from European Union directives which, in most part, are now enshrined in British law.

Maternity Leave.

Women are now entitled to 18 weeks maternity leave (up from 14 weeks), in line with statutory maternity pay. Qualifying period for additional leave has been cut from two years to one.

Parental Leave.

Men and women with at least one year's service with their employer can take up to up to 13 weeks' unpaid leave for each child born or adopted after December 15, 1999. Leave may be taken any time after the child is born or adopted, up until the child's fifth bithday.

Emergency Time Off All employees have the right to"a reasonable period of time off work" to deal with emergencies involving a dependant. Normally only a few days. It is up to the employer whether a worker is paid during this period.

Working Time Limits.

Maximum 48-hour week - unless employees opt out or areexempted from regulations. At least four weeks holiday per year, plus regulated rest breaks and time off each week.

Part-time Staff.

Part-time workers entitled to same (pro-rata) treatment as full-timers on sick pay, overtime, pensions, holidays, bonuses and other benefits.

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