Extended employment rights for parents and carers

31st May 2023

Proposals were made some time ago to extend the employment rights and protections for parents and carers. Last week, three legal acts were given royal assent meaning that we are one step closer to the following rights and protections being implemented into UK law:

  • 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. It is proposed that this will enable carers to better balance their caring and work responsibilities, supporting them to remain in employment.

In relation to these changes, Business Minister Kevin Hollinrake has said:

“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.

Over the past year, we have proven our commitment to supporting workers across the UK, including raising the national living wage to its highest yet. Protecting and enhancing workers’ rights whilst supporting businesses to grow remains a priority for this government and a dynamic labour helps to drive up wages, employment and economic growth.”

Whilst we don’t yet have a date for when these new rights and entitlements will become legally in force, the Government has announced that it will lay down secondary legislation to implement these new entitlements in due course. We will update you when this happens.

If you need advice on legislation changes, please get in touch with the employment team at employment@schofieldsweeney.co.uk.

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