New work laws 'to promote equality'
Flexible working arrangements passed by the Northern Ireland Assembly will promote gender equality, the employment and learning minister said.
The Work and Families Bill will introduce new rights for working parents allowing leave and pay entitlement to be shared following a birth or adoption of a child. Parents will be able to choose whether to be at home together or work at different times and share childcare.
Minister Stephen Farry said: "There are factors regarding retention and progression of women in the workplace. I believe that the measures contained in this Bill will make an important contribution to the work that is ongoing to promote gender equality within the workplace and wider society.
"In turn this will have long term benefits for employers as the best employees become better able to achieve their full potential by remaining attached to the workplace. Achieving a balance between employee and employer needs in a way that promotes economic wellbeing is central to what my Department is seeking to achieve through the current review of employment law."
The Bill, which also includes a wide extension of the right to request flexible working, will create a new system of shared parental leave and pay which will allow eligible working families to have more choice about how they balance their work and caring commitments.
The right to request flexible working, currently available to many parents and carers, will be extended to all employees who have worked for their employer for 26 weeks or more.