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To what extent have developments in individual rights in Britain delivered family friendly working practices, and with what implications for all relevant stakeholders

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  1. Introduction.
  2. European background and the UK government.
  3. The statutory rights enforced by four main legislations.
    1. The Employment Rights Act 1996.
    2. The Employment Relations Act 1999.
    3. The Maternity and Parental Etc Regulations 1999.
    4. The Employment Act 2002.
  4. The effects of the new labour policies.
    1. Increase in flexibility.
    2. Improvement in retention of the employees.
  5. Analyisation of the family friendly policies,
  6. Conclusion.
  7. References.
  8. Appendices.

Since New Labour came to power in May 1997 some developments in employments rights have aimed to promote the balancing between work and family life: ?Families are the core of our society, but they are under pressure. Women and men struggle with choices over work and family responsibilities?.The government is pledged to support families and children We want to encourage more family-friendly employment.? These so-called ?family- friendly? policies include new statutory rights: parental leave for fathers after a child's birth, parental leave for both parents, time-off for dependants in case of emergencies, adoption leave and a right to request flexible working. These changes in employment laws have occurred gradually: first the Employment Rights Act (1999) and the Maternity and Parental, etc Regulations (1999) have simplified the former legislation about maternity leave and have given rights to fathers. Then there have been some extensions with the Employment Act (2002) with longer periods of paid maternity leave, the introduction of paid paternity leave and a right to request for flexible work.

[...] In Scandinavian countries much wider support for families is offered; women can really develop both a career and a personal life and fathers are strongly encouraged to take part in familial life. It is not enough to enforce new regulations, mentalities have to change too and this takes time. A recent research published by the lobby group Working Families has shown that 60 per cent of fathers who had asked for flexible working had been allowed to do so. But most of working fathers hesitate before asking because they know that they can be deprived from top management functions or even be redundant. [...]

[...] However these co-called ?family-friendly? policies which are aimed to help parents better balance work and family have been criticised, in particular by trade unions. These policies have been reported to be self- defeating for firms; instead of promoting female employment they can increase discrimination towards woman in the workplace. The family is not necessarily winner. what extent can these policies be considered as family-friendly practices? What are the impacts on employees, family life and employers? At first sight these new statutory rights introduced by successive regulations look family-friendly. [...]

[...] Marrin, arrogant folly of trying to nationalise parenthood?, Daily Telegraph, December 2000 Web sites - - ?Case study: HSBC: the Family Friendly Employer of the year ?Family-friendly Employment: the business case? Bevan Dench Tamkin Cummings J (1999) for the statutory rights DTI (1999), Employment Relations Bill: Regulatory Impact Assessment?, HMSO, London, -DTI (2000), ?Work and Parents Competitiveness and Choice?, HMSO, London, Case law Patefield v Belfast City Council (2000) Commission for Racial Equity Qua v John Ford Morrisson (2003) Equal Opportunity Commission South Cnetral trains v Rodway (2004), Issue 93, October 2004 Appendices Appendices Survey conducted by Roper, Cunningham and James «Promoting family-friendly policies? [...]

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