How can we help you?

Three government-backed Private Members' Bills have received Royal Assent and the government's press release states that it intends to lay down secondary legislation to implement the entitlements "in due course".

The legislation is as follows:

The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023

This will allow eligible employed parents whose new-born baby is admitted to neonatal care to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave in addition to entitlements such as maternity and paternity leave.

The entitlement will be available to parents whose babies are born prematurely or who are sick and require specialist care after birth.

Neonatal care leave will apply from the first day of employment to parents of babies who are admitted into hospital up to the age of 28 days and who have a continuous stay in hospital of 7 full days or more.  Parents will have a right to neonatal care leave of at least one week and up to a maximum of 12 weeks regardless of length of service and those with at least 26 weeks' continuous service will have a right to receive neonatal care pay at a prescribed statutory rate.  Parents taking neonatal care leave will have the same employment protections as those associated with other forms of family related leave, including protection from dismissal or detriment as a result of having taken leave.

The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023

This will allow for the extension of existing redundancy protections while on maternity, adoption or shared parental leave to also cover pregnancy and a period of time after a new parent has returned to work.

Currently the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA 1996) allows the Secretary of State to implement regulations concerning redundancy "during" periods of maternity leave, adoption leave or shared parental leave.  The Act will amend the ERA 1996 to enable the Secretary of State to implement regulations providing protection against redundancy "during or after" an individual taking periods of the relevant leave.  It will also add a new provision to the ERA 1996 allowing for the implementation of regulations concerning redundancy "during, or after" a "protected period of pregnancy".  The detail will be provided by the regulations, but the explanatory notes to the Bill suggest that, by extending protection after a protected period of pregnancy, a woman who has miscarried before informing her employer of her pregnancy will also benefit from the redundancy protection.

The Carer's Leave Act 2023

The Act will introduce a new and flexible entitlement of one week's unpaid leave per year for employees who are providing or arranging care and will be available to eligible employees from the first day of their employment. They will be able to take the leave flexibly to suit their caring responsibilities and will not need to provide evidence of how the leave is used or who it will be used for.  Employees will also  be protected from dismissal or any detriment as a result of having taken time off.

The new entitlement to statutory carer's leave will rely on the carer's relationship with the person being cared for, which should broadly follow the definition of dependant used in the legislation concerning right to time off for dependants – a spouse, civil partner, child, parent, a person who lives in the same household as the employee (other than by reason of them being their employee, tenant, lodger, or boarder) or a person who reasonably relies on the employee for care.  It will also depend on the person being cared for having a long-term care need. This will be defined as a long-term illness or injury (physical or mental), a disability as defined under the Equality Act 2010, or issues related to old age.  There will be limited exemptions from the requirement for long-term care, for example in the case of terminal illness.

Those taking carer's leave will be protected from detriment, and dismissals for reasons connected with exercising the right to carer's leave will be automatically unfair.