A new right to unpaid time off to accompany a pregnant woman to antenatal appointments will come into force on 1 October. It will be available to employees and qualifying agency workers.
This right is contained in the Children and Families Act 2014. It applies to the pregnant woman’s husband or partner (including a same-sex partner), the father of a pregnant woman’s child, and intended parents in a surrogacy situation who meet specified conditions. The entitlement is to unpaid leave for one or two appointments and the amount of time off is capped at 6.5 hours for each appointment.
Employers need to be aware of the new right and may obtain a guide from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
The Act also provides for a new right to paid and unpaid time off work for adopters to attend meetings in advance of a child being placed with them for adoption. This right will come into force on 5 April 2015.