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Parental leave and flexible working changes come into effect

Statutory Rules governed by the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) regarding parental leave have come into effect from the 8th March 2013 in Northern Ireland.

From this date, Parental Leave will give qualifying parents of young or disabled children, the right to take unpaid time off work to look after a child or make arrangements for the child’s welfare. Under the new rules these parents will be able to take up to 18 weeks parental leave, which is an increase from the 13 weeks available to most parents at present.

Employed agency workers will also benefit from the statutory right to request flexible working when they return from parental leave.

Parents and carers who are employees can request a 'contract variation' (eg part-time work, job-sharing, flexi-time etc) to help balance their home / work lives.

Please note that Employers must give the requests serious consideration, but can turn them down if there are considered to be reasonable business grounds for doing so.

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