On 24 May 2023, three bills received Royal Assent. The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill, Carer’s Leave Bill and Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Bill then became the Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023, Carer’s Leave Act 2023 and Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023.
We set out below a summary of the new protections that this legislation will provide:-
- The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023 will entitle eligibly employed parents, whose baby is admitted to neonatal care, up to 12 weeks paid leave so that they can take additional time off to spend that time with their baby. This is in addition to other leave entitlements;
- The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023 will extend the redundancy protections, to increase the period during which protection is afforded to pregnant women, and new parents (including those invoking the right to shared parental leave or who have been on adoption leave), in relation to any redundancy situation that may arise. Therefore, employers will then be obligated to offer any suitable alternative employment in a redundancy situation that may arise to these protected groups, for an extended period of time; and
- The Carer’s Leave Act 2023 will entitle employees with caring responsibilities for a dependent with long-term caring needs, to one week of flexible unpaid leave per year. This right will apply from day one of employment and employees will not be required to provide any evidence of their entitlement to the leave.
When will this come into force?
It is expected that each of the above new protections will not come into force until 2024. This is due to the requirement for further secondary legislation to set out how these rights will apply in practice. Therefore, the enhanced protections will not become law until they are introduced by legislation.
However, once in place, this legislation will provide the additional rights to these categories of workers.
Employers will need to be ready to implement additional measures, to ensure that they are adhering to the new protections once in place.
Our specialist employment team at Jackson Boyd advises both employers and employees in relation to the employee rights and protections. Whether you are an employee or employer, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our team today.