Businesses have been warned by a leading Worcestershire employment lawyer to stay cautious following new government maternity leave legislation.

Award-winning employment specialist Sally Morris has recently revealed her concerns after the government revealed the Paternity Leave Amendment Regulations 2024.

The regulations, applicable for parents whose children are born or adopted after April 6 this year, are likely to cause a shift in the current legislative framework.



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As per the new rules, fathers or partners can now split their statutory paternity leave into two one-week blocks within the first year.

This is a marked diversion from the existing rules which necessitate a continuous one or two week block of leave within the first eight weeks.

Starting in April, employees will require to give only a 28-day notice for their intention to take paternity leave, as opposed to the previous obligation of 15 weeks.

Ms Morris, who is the partner and head of employment and HR services at mfg Solicitors, said: "These government changes have been on the horizon for several months and actually come in alongside other family-friendly policies such as changes to flexible working right, improved redundancy protection, and the introduction of carers leave."

She added: “However, the paternity rule changes are significant as from April they move the goalposts and will see businesses and HR teams having to not only be more prepared, but ensuring their paperwork, templates, handbooks and a host of other print or digital literature is amended in time and in-line with the new rules."

Mentioning the need for amendments in paperwork, templates, handbooks, she stressed on the importance of businesses being well-informed about these changes.

"The rules give more power back to parents which in a post-pandemic world is widely welcomed, but it does mean all businesses must be well-read on the rules and what it means for them," she continued.

Highlighting how all legislative changes need businesses to stay one step ahead, she said: "As with all employment legislation changes, it needs companies to stay one step ahead so they can advise employees properly, but also to protect themselves."

Small businesses can reach out to Sally Morris via her email: