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Work and Families Act 2006

The Work and Families Act 2006 is the first step towards delivery of some of the measures set out in the Government response to the consultation,

Work and Families: Choice and Flexibility, which was published in October 2005. It aims to establish a balanced package of rights and responsibilities for both employers and employees, in line with the Government's better regulation agenda. The Work and Families legislation will:

  • Extend maternity and adoption pay from six to nine months from April 2007, towards the goal of a year's paid leave by the end of the Parliament.
  • Extend the right to request flexible working to carers of adults from April 2007.
  • Give employed fathers a new right to up to 26 weeks Additional Paternity Leave some of which could be paid, if the mother returns to work.  This will be introduced alongside the extension of maternity pay to 12 months.
  • Introduce measures to help employers manage the administration of leave and pay and plan ahead with greater certainty from April 2007;
  • Help employers and employees benefit from improved communication during maternity leave.

It also:

  • Provides an enabling power to extend the entitlement to 4 weeks leave, making it additional to time equivalent to bank (and public) holidays.  We are currently consulting on these changes (see Related Links - Holiday Entitlement).
  • Provides a one-off power to increase the maximum amount of a week's pay affecting compensation payments in connection with, in particular, redundancy, unfair dismissal and insolvency.  

The maternity and adoption leave and pay regulations have been made (see External Links).

Responses to the consultation on draft flexible working regulations are being considered and the Government will respond in due course.