There are changes going on which will help more parents get a better work life balance, which in turn will benefit their children. I gave birth on 4th March, so just missed out on the new £190 Maternity Health in Pregnancy Grant which you can claim from this week if you are 25 weeks pregnant or more.
This week also sees the extension of rights to request flexible work to all parents of children 16 and under. This is only the right to ask … employers have to listen to your request but can turn it down on a number of grounds which are outlined in this article.
In the years since my seven year old was born, the Government has also started offering each child £250 to start a Child Trust Fund.
Parents have also gained the right to up to 13 weeks unpaid parental leave, to be taken before your child’s fifth birthday. This leave can give you the flexibility to cope with unexpected illness, but the lack of pay may mean that it is something only taken up by those with savings.
And last week, the Equality and Human Rights Commission put forward proposals for more equality of paid maternity and paternity leave, in a bid to encourage fathers and people on low incomes to take leave during the first year after a child is born. My dh has been given extended parental leave this year due to the fact I’m still experiencing problems due to symphysis pubis dysfunction, and it is a real life saver, so I’d certainly advocate better rights which more people are able to take up.
How have these changes affected you, and what further changes would make a difference to your family?