From 1 October 2014, an expectant father, or the spouse, civil partner or partner (including a same sex partner) of a pregnant woman will be entitled to take unpaid time off work to accompany the woman to ante-natal appointments. This right is provided for under the Children and Families Act 2014.
The entitlement is to unpaid leave for 1 or 2 appointments and the amount of time is capped at 6.5 hours per appointment.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has published a guide for employers on the new right. This guide can be found at:
An employer is not entitled to ask for any evidence of the ante-natal appointments, but is entitled to ask the employee for a declaration stating the details of the appointment, that the employee qualifies for the unpaid time off through his or her relationship with the mother or child, and that the time off is for the purpose of attending an ante-natal appointment.
The Children and Families Act 2014 also provides for a new right to paid and unpaid time off work for those adopting to allow them to attend meetings in advance of a child being placed with them. This right will come into force on 5 April 2015.
For further information, please contact a member of the Employment Team.