News Archive for March, 2013

Government Announces Flexible Working Measures

Following last year’s ‘Modern Workplaces’ consultation, the Government plans to introduce the following reforms:

Shared Parental Leave after Birth or Adoption From 2015, parents will be given the right to share up to a year’s leave after the birth or adoption of a child.

Employed mothers will still be entitled to 52 weeks’ maternity leave and will have to take at least the first two weeks (four weeks if they are manual workers) of leave after birth as a recovery period.

Following that, however, mothers will be able to choose to end their maternity leave and the parents can opt to share the remaining leaveas flexible parental leave in whatever way they choose.  They will be able to take the leave in turns or take it together, provided the combined total does not exceed 52 weeks.

It is hoped that giving couples the right to choose how they balance their work and family commitments will result in fewer women dropping out of the workforce following childbirth.

The Government will now carry out a consultation on how the new system should be administered. Fathers are also to be given a new right to take unpaid leave to attend two antenatal appointments.

Statutory paternity leave will remain at two weeks, but the Government intends to keep this under review and will examine the feasibility of extending it when it reviews the effectiveness of the new measures in 2018.

Flexible Working From 2014, the right to request flexible working will be extended to all employees who have been with their employer for 26 weeks. Currently, it applies only to those who are parents of children aged 16 and under (under 18 where the child is disabled) and employees who care for, or expect to care for, certain adults.

To achieve this, the system for considering flexible working requests will be made more adaptable.  The current statutory procedure will be removed. Instead, employers will have a duty to consider all requests in a reasonable manner. They will have the flexibility to refuse requests on business grounds but the Government believes that the new laws will benefit employers as well.

Parental Leave, employers are also reminded that the amount of unpaid parental leave that can be taken by parents in relation to each child under five years of age (or, in the case of an adopted child, in the five years after the placement) will increase from 13 weeks to 18 weeks from March 2013. Currently, only parents of disabled children under the age of 18 are entitled to 18 weeks’ parental leave.

Posted by Peter Nicholas on Thursday, March 07, 2013 at 05:17 PM

Care Defeats Will Challenge

When an elderly woman left a will that excluded one of her sons, who had beencharged with (but not convicted of) several counts of fraud in relation to a business he ran with her other son, the disinherited son claimed that she had lacked the mental capacity to make a will and should be treated as having died intestate.

The solicitor instructed by the woman to draw up the will had taken appropriate care and obtained her specific confirmation that she wished to disinherit her son. He had also satisfied himself that she was mentally capable.

He was therefore robust in his assertion that his client did have ‘testamentary capacity’, and a barrister who had acted for her in the recent past gave evidence in support of his contention.

Although the woman took medication for depression, a medical expert gave evidence that this would not have deprived her of mental capacity. The challenge to the will was therefore rejected.

In circumstances such as these, a challenge to a will is quite likely.

However, taking care to assemble evidence of mental competence and the absence of coercion in the making of the will normally means that any challenge to it can be disposed of promptly.

Posted by Peter Nicholas on Thursday, March 07, 2013 at 05:10 PM