Fri 09 Jun 2023

New employment protections for parents and carers

Three Acts of Parliament (all Government-supported Private Members’ Bills), which will give parents and unpaid carers new protections at work, have received Royal Assent and are due to come into force soon.

Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023

This Act will allow eligible employed parents whose newborn baby is admitted to neonatal care to take up to 12 weeks of leave. This will be a day 1 of employment right. Those with 26 weeks’ continuous service will also be entitled to neonatal care pay at a statutory prescribed rate.

This is in addition to other leave entitlements such as maternity and paternity leave. The length of leave and statutory neonatal pay will be based on the length of neonatal care treatment the eligible parent’s baby receives. It will apply if the baby receives neonatal care for more than seven continuous days before reaching 28 days old.

This entitlement is expected to be introduced from April 2025, according to responses to written questions submitted to the Department for Business and Trade.

Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023

This will extend existing redundancy protections whilst on maternity leave, adoption leave or shared parental leave to be extended to include pregnant employees and a period of time after a new parent has returned to work.

We await further details in the implementing regulations but the Explanatory Notes to the Bill (at paragraph 20) suggest that a woman who miscarries before telling her employer of her pregnancy would also be included in the redundancy protections.

Carer's Leave Act 2023

A new day one right to one week’s statutory unpaid flexible leave entitlement per year will be created for employees who are caring for a dependant with a long-term care need. The legislation defines “long-term care need” as being:

  1. an illness or injury (whether physical or mental) that requires, or is likely to require, care for more than three months;
  2. a disability in accordance with the Equality Act 2010’s definition; or
  3. the requirement of care for a reason connected with old age.

The definition of dependant is expected to mirror the definition used in existing time off for dependants legislation.

The UK Government will introduce secondary legislation “in due course” to implement these new entitlements. There is no firm announcement of when this will be so watch this space for further updates.

How can we help?

If you have any queries about what these changes mean for you or your business, please get in touch with a member of our Employment Law team.

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