No Image Available


Read more from TrainingZone

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

TUC takes the government to court on parental rights


Next week the TUC will go back to court to appeal against one part of the judgement given in the challenge to the government's implementation of European parental leave regulations.

On Thursday (20 July), the TUC will argue at the Court of Appeal that parents falling foul of the government's 15 December cut-off should be allowed to take parental leave whilst the European Court of Justice makes up its mind on the issue.

The TUC's parental leave case was first heard in the High Court in May when Cherie Booth QC put the TUC's arguments to Lord Chief Justice Bingham and Mr Justice Morison. The TUC argued that the cut-off established by the government in the regulations introducing the European Parental Leave Directive was unlawful.

Working mothers and fathers of children born after the 15 December 1999 can take a total of 13 weeks' unpaid leave to care for each of their children. Leave can be taken up until the child's fifth birthday. But the 2.7 million parents of children born before the cut-off get nothing.

The TUC had hoped that the case would be decided on by the High Court, but although the judges expected the TUC's arguments `to prevail', they referred the case to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

But as it could take up to two years for the ECJ to decide on the parental leave case, the TUC is concerned that up to a million parents with three and four year olds could lose their right to parental leave forever.

TUC General Secretary John Monks said: "It was extremely disappointing that the case - which we thought was extremely clear cut - looks set to be delayed for such a long time. Parental leave should be available, as it is throughout the rest of Europe, to all working parents with children under five. We are hopeful that the Court of Appeal will listen favourably to our arguments and decide in the interests of the 2.7 million parents struggling to juggle work and home, who can't currently take parental leave.

"The government said that it wants to see a better work/life balance for UK workers. It could send a clear signal that it is committed to family-friendly employment policies by backing down and scrapping the cut-off which is currently working against so many parents."

The Irish government had initially introduced a cut-off date but following advice from the European Commission, it backed down and has accepted that their legislation must be changed.

The European Directive makes provision for countries to grant parental leave to working parents with children up to the age of eight, or even higher. Several countries have extended rights for parents of children beyond the age of five. For example, both Sweden and Italy have made parental leave available to all working parents with children up to the age of eight.


Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.

Thank you!