The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) have published two new guides, ‘Time off for antenatal appointments’ and ‘Surrogacy – rights for intended parents’.
Acas reports that it receives 39,000 enquiries annually from workers and employees alike about parental rights. These two new guides summarise theses specific rights
Time off for antenatal and adoption appointments
- Pregnant employees have a right to reasonable paid time off for antenatal care. For a first baby, women can expect to have up to 10 antenatal appointments. If requested by the employer the pregnant mother must provide an appointment card or other document confirming their appointments although this is not necessary for their first appointment.
Additional rights were introduced in October 2014. The guide summarises the rights as follows:
A right for employees who adopt a child to paid time off to attend adoption appointments. The right is limited to paid time off for up to five appointments for the main adopter.
- A right for fathers, partners and civil partners to unpaid time off to accompany a pregnant woman to two ante-natal appointments. Surrogate parents could also be entitled to attend two unpaid antenatal appointments if they expect to satisfy the conditions for, and intend to apply for a Parental Order for the child.
- Time off for each appointment is capped at six and a half hours
The ACAS guide suggests that even though there is no right to paid time off to accompany employers may allow employees to swap shifts or make up time later.
Surrogacy rights for intended parents
The guide explains which rights apply in a surrogacy arrangement. It covers the different types of surrogacy and leave that may be available.
Jo Seery of Thompsons Solicitors commented “Parental rights are notoriously complex. The ACAS guides provide a useful short summary of the right to accompany those attending antenatal care and adoption appointments. Good employers will improve on this by providing paid time off.”
To access the Acas information on surrogacy and rights for intended parents, go to: http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=5342
To access the Acas information on time off for antenatal appointments, go to: http://www.acas.org.uk/antenatal