Bishop & Sewell

Some good news for parents and parents to be during half term!

Three new pieces of legislation have received royal assent that will bring greater employment protections for new parents and carers.

There are, according to the charity Carers UK, some 5.7m unpaid carers in the UK, with 59% of them women. Separately, research from the Equality and Human Rights Commission estimates that one in nine new mothers are dismissed, made redundant or leave as their working lives are made impossible.

The three government-backed private members bills look to address this and give parents and carers:

  • Up to 12 weeks of paid neonatal care leave for employed parents whose children are admitted to neonatal care so that they can spend more time with their baby at what is a hugely stressful time. This is in addition to other leave and pay entitlements such as maternity and paternity.
  • Redundancy protection for pregnant women and new parents, with the extension of existing redundancy protections to cover pregnancy and a period of time after parents return to work.
  • A new entitlement for unpaid carers to a week of flexible unpaid leave a year for employees who are caring for a dependant with a long-term care need. This will enable carers to balance their caring and work responsibilities in a better way, supporting them to remain in employment.

The Government’s Business Minister Kevin Hollinrake said in an official press release that “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 three new pieces of legislation are:

  • The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act, providing 12 weeks of paid neonatal care leave.
  • The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act, providing redundancy protections whilst on maternity leave, adoption leave or shared parental leave.
  • The Carer’s Leave Act, creating an entitlement for unpaid leave employees with care responsibilities.

We live in hope that there will be some creative reform in the laws around flexible working as the current statutory framework is toothless. Flexibility is not just about parents of course. It’s about the world of work today.

Contact our Employment team

Rhian Radia is a Partner and Head of the Employment team. For initial advice or to arrange a meeting with one of our Employment team, please email or call on 020 7631 4141

The above is accurate as at 31 May 2023. The information above may be subject to change during these ever-changing times.

The content of this note should not be considered legal advice and each matter should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Category: Blog | Date: 31st May 2023

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