Expectant fathers now have the right to take unpaid time off work to attend two ante-natal classes with their partners.
The entitlement, which came into effect on 1 October, applies to all expectant partners including husbands, spouses, civil partners and anyone in a long-term relationship with the mother. Expectant fathers who are not in a relationship with the mother are still entitled to the unpaid time off work.
Employers are obliged to allow their staff this time off, and cannot demand to see any proof of the appointment. They can request a statement giving the time and date of the appointment, and that the employee does qualify for the unpaid leave as the expectant parent of the child or as the partner of the mother.
The time off taken for each of the two appointments is capped at six-and-half hours each. Employees can exercise this entitlement at any stage of their employment with a company, with no minimum qualifying period required.
If employers refuse an employee this time off, they can be ordered to pay compensation of two times the hourly rate of that employee for each hour they were denied leave.
Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any other aspect of employment law.