Consultation on Modern Workplaces

The Department for Business Innovation and Skills has launched a new consultation document entitled ‘Consultation on Modern Workplaces’.

It proposes the following:-

• Flexible parental leave: retaining 18 weeks’ maternity leave for mothers, and then reclassifying the remaining maternity leave as ‘parental leave’. Parental leave would be taken by either mother, or father, or both. Either way, most of it will be paid. The consultation will also propose allowing employers and employees to agree for parental leave to be taken in chunks, or on a part-time basis;

• Flexible working: extending the right to request flexible working to all employees, not just those with children under 17 (or 18 for parents of disabled children);

• Working time regulations: amending these regulations to bring them into line with European Court of Justice case law. Allowing employees to carry over untaken holiday into the subsequent holiday year if they lost the chance to take paid holiday because of sickness absence or maternity/parental leave. For sickness absence the proposal is to limit carried-over holiday to four weeks;

• Equal Pay: where an employer is found guilty of breaching equal pay legislation, the proposal is that there would be a duty on employment tribunals to require employers to conduct a pay audit, unless it is not productive to do so.

The consultation closes on 8th August 2011 and we will be following its progress closely. For more information please go to or please feel free to contact us at