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| 2 minutes read

New law alert! Royal assent given for new worker rights for parents and carers

Three private members' bills containing new worker rights for parents and carers have been given royal assent last week. Private members' bills are legislation brought by MPs and peers who aren’t government ministers.

The new laws give parents and carers the following rights:

  • Protection from redundancy  The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023 extends the redundancy protection period for employees from the point they confirm their pregnancy with their employer and then for a further six months after they return to work.  This could be up to 18 months after the start of their maternity leave should they take the full 12 months’ maternity leave.  Previously, this protection only lasted while the employee was on maternity leave.  The protection they receive is as follows; any employee who may be at risk of redundancy during this protected period, must be offered any suitable alternative vacancy, where one exists, as a priority over and above any other non ‘protected’ employees.  Parents on adoption leave will similarly be protected for a further six months after they return from adoption leave.  Protection will be extended for parents after they return from shared parental leave, however, the length of this protection has yet to be determined. 
  • Neonatal leave – The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act allows parents to take up to 12 weeks paid leave to spend more time with babies requiring care. The leave will be a day-one right for parents of babies who are admitted to hospital in the first 28 days of life and who have been in hospital without a break for seven days or more. Paid leave will be conditional upon parents having 26 weeks continuous service with their employer.
  • Carer’s leave – The Carer’s Leave Act will introduce one-week unpaid leave to help employees with long-term caring responsibilities lasting for more than three months. It will be a day one right and the leave can be taken in one block or on individual days.

We do not have dates for when any of these provisions will be in force. The first two need Regulations to be laid before Parliament before they have any effect and we have been promised that these will be introduced “in due course”. The implementation of the Carer’s Leave Act will not be before April 2024. That said, employers and organisation may want to start considering developing and amending their own internal policies with a view to putting the legislation into action once we have more concrete days.

If you want to discuss any draft policies or how these new laws might affect your organisation, please do get in touch with Hannah Bollard or another member of the team.


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