New family focused legislation receives HRH stamp of approval


Back in 2022, three private members bills were tabled to provide enhanced protection to those with caring responsibilities. On the 24 May 2023, The Carer’s Leave Bill, The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill and The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Bill received royal assent from King Charles.

The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act

This new legislation will afford up to 12 weeks of paid neonatal care leave for employed parents whose children are admitted to neonatal care. This 12-week period will be in addition to other statutory leave available.

In yesterday’s press release, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade), Kevin Hollinrake confirmed,

We know how stressful it can be for parents caring for a new-born in neonatal care, or someone who is trying to juggle work with caring responsibilities, and these additional protections will ensure they get the support they need.”

The Carer’s Leave Act

Following the 2021 census, the Office of National Statistics confirmed that in England and Wales an estimated 5 million residents provided unpaid care in 2021, saving the UK millions.

The Carer’s Leave Act creates a new statutory unpaid leave entitlement of one week for employees who are caring for a dependant with a long-term care need. This will be a day one right which is in addition to other statutory leave.

The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act

Following research between the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Equality and Human Rights Commission, it was reported that one in nine mothers reported that they were either dismissed; made compulsorily redundant, where others in their workplace were not; or treated so poorly they felt they had to leave their job.

This legislation extends the current protections afforded under statutory provisions for Maternity Leave, Adoption Leave and Shared Parental Leave to cover pregnancy and a period of time after a parent has returned to work.

Next Steps

Secondary legislation will be needed to fully implement the new legislation and timescales are somewhat loose.

For businesses, it is key to ensure any internal policies are in line with the updated legislation and staff are suitably trained on the changes. Further updates will be provided when we have more information.

If you would any advice on matters contained in this article, or generally, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our Employment team on 0191 226 7878, or at www.sintons.co.uk.


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