Parents' rights at work: where to go for help and advice
If you would like information on a specific case, there are a number of places you can go to for help and advice, both free and paid-for.
Take care when using all online resources that the information is up-to-date, as there are quite frequent changes to the law in this area.
Legal aid is not available for employment tribunal cases, but there are various sources of free legal advice available.
- The Equality and Human Rights Commission and Equality Advisory Support Service: The Equality and Human Rights Commission website has some excellent resources on equality law issues. There is also a free helpline for people with equality law problems called the Equality Advisory Support Service - 0808 800 0082.
- Law Centres: These centres provide free telephone and face-to-face advice, often in the form of drop-in sessions, for a particular area.
- Citizens Advice Bureaux: These provide free telephone and face-to-face advice on various legal issues, including employment disputes. You can use a CAB in the area in which you work or live, and can find the relevant office by putting your postcode into the CAB website.
- ACAS: This is a government-funded service that provides a free helpline - 08457 47 47 47 - for people involved in an employment dispute or who are looking for information on employment rights.
Advice you may already have paid for
- Trade unions: Unions will generally provide legal advice to their members, and representation if they feel that a case is worth pursuing to an Employment Tribunal.
- House Insurance: Many people have legal expenses insurance on their house insurance policies (often without being aware of it), which can provide you with advice and representation in the event of an employment dispute. Every policy is different, and many will only provide cover if you have lost your job, so check the terms carefully.
There are lots of solicitors who specialise in employment law. It is worth asking around for a recommendation if possible, but if not, the Law Society has a database of solicitors, which can help you find a specialist.
If you would like to instruct a barrister, you can do so either through a solicitor or directly (i.e. without having a solicitor as well). There is a list of barristers who accept instructions directly from the public on the Bar Council website.
Other useful resources
- Maternity Action has information on its website and a telephone advice line.
- The gov.uk website has detailed if dry advice on a range of matters such as maternity pay and all kinds of family leave.
- ACAS has a lot of information about parental rights at work on its website and also has a confidential helpline (see above).
- Working Families is a work-life balance organisation that has a free helpline and information available on its website.
- Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs website has a maternity pay calculator, information on the various types of leave and pay, and downloadable forms.