Legal Notice 201 of 2022 has been published on the 13th July 2022 and will come into force on the 2nd August 2022. These regulations were enacted with the aim of transposing the EU Work-Life Balance Directive which was introduced and became part of EU law in August 2019.
The main provisions of this legal notice are the following:
1. Regulation 4 introduces a paid 10-day paternity leave for fathers or equivalent second parents to be utilized at the moment of birth or adoption of their child. Moreover, as laid down in the same regulation, the right to paternity leave “shall not be made subject to a period of work qualification or a length of service qualification” and shall be granted irrespective of marital or family status.
2. Part of the parental leave entitlement shall now be paid. Parental leave is to be granted for birth, adoption, fostering or legal custody of a child to be used to care for that child “for a period of four (4) months until the child has attained the age of eight (8) years”. Two months out of this four-month period will be paid at the same rate used to calculate the sickness benefit entitlement according to the Social Security Act. A worker is entitled to carry over any unused parental leave if there is a change in employment.
3. Unpaid carers’ leave of five working days annually has been introduced. Medical evidence must be provided to show that the relative or individual residing with the worker and in relation to whom carers’ leave is needed, suffers from an illness and requires care.
4. The Regulations tackle flexible working arrangements, including “remote working”, “reduced hours” and “flexitime”. The right “to request flexible working arrangements for caring purposes” is granted to “workers with children up to the age of 8 years and carers”. Once again, employers must consider and respond to requests for flexible working arrangements within 2 weeks and reasons for refusal of such requests must be given.