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Mothers unaware of new regulations

Date 16 Aug 2007
Author The Editor

Almost three quarters of women were not aware of changes to Maternity Laws which occurred yesterday, according to a new survey. New mums will be able to get paid leave for nine months instead of six after 1 April, but a poll conducted by the Institute of Payroll Professionals (IPP) found 71% of women questioned were unaware of the legislation. 80% of those who live outside major cities did not know the laws were changing, whereas those who were most clued up on women’s rights were 64% of women aged 35 to 44.

Maurice Cheng, IPP CEO, said: “This news is quite worrying as some small employers (SMEs) may not be aware of the changes and therefore not informing their employees. “A general observation is that the larger employers will be clued up on the new regulations and will have already taken steps to implement the changes into their payroll processes and procedures. Also, employers that use an agent, e.g. a payroll bureaux or accountant to produce their payroll, will be provided with the relevant information.

There are a number of employers who do not scan HMG (Her Majesty’s Government) web pages to keep up to date with new legislation. "There does not seem to have been a lot of publicity in the media regarding the new rules. "More household media coverage would bring the new regulations to employees' attention and prompt them to ask their employers for advice."

Statutory Maternity Pay has now increased to 39 weeks, including six weeks at 90% of pay and 33 weeks at the flat rate (£112.75). Any start date and notice periods for a return to work have also changed from 28 days to 56 days notice. The Regulations mean an employee on maternity leave can agree with their employer that they work for up to 10 days during their leave, without bringing the leave to an end, letting employees attend training/business courses and update their skills without prejudicing their maternity leave. 

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