Pregnant woman in meeting

New Family-friendly Employment Bills Have Become Law

The government has taken steps to help protect pregnant employees and parents returning to work from redundancy by introducing the Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023. They have also brought a Bill into law called the Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023, which provides parents whose babies are receiving neonatal care paid time off work. Both of these Bills will be implemented in due course once the government has drafted legislation that outlines how these would work in practice. 

Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023

Under current redundancy regulations, employers are obliged to offer employees on Maternity, Shared Parental or Adoption Leave an available alternative job as a priority over other employees who are selected for redundancy. However, according to a study by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, at least 54,000 women are still pushed out of the workforce by their employers every year after becoming pregnant.

The new Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023 proposes to extend redundancy protections to cover those who are pregnant, employees who have recently suffered a miscarriage and parents who have recently returned from Maternity, Shared Parental or Adoption Leave.

Who would be entitled to these new redundancy protection rights?

Your rights at work depend on your employment status. Many employment rights are only available to those classified as employees and not to temporary or agency workers, but it depends on your individual circumstances and work contract. If you’re unsure which category you fall into, check with your employer or recruitment consultant.

Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023

Currently, parents of newborn babies in neonatal care must rely on their existing leave entitlements to enable them to be off work whilst their babies are in hospital. This has been seen to increase levels of anxiety and postnatal depression by parents not having sufficient time and financial support during a difficult time.

The new Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023 provides eligible employed parents whose babies are admitted to neonatal care 12 weeks of paid leave, in addition to their other leave entitlements such as Maternity and Paternity Leave. 

Who would be entitled to these new neonatal care rights?

Those who meet the following criteria would likely be entitled to the new rights:

  • You are classified as an employee.
  • You meet the minimum service and earning requirements – to be eligible for paid family leave, it’s usually required that you would have worked at the same employer for at least 26 weeks.
  • Your baby receives neonatal care in a health setting for more than seven days before they’re 28 days old. 

Next steps

All employers and employees would need to wait for the government to release legislation outlining how these two new Bills are to be implemented in the workplace. If you work in an HR role, you would likely be involved in updating internal policies regarding redundancies and leave entitlements, and training managers on the new employment rights once they’re enforced.

Tate has permanent roles and temporary roles available to apply for – whichever suits your needs. We also provide a passionate, professional and personal service to all candidates looking for a suitable job or who are just seeking general work-related advice. Contact your local Tate branch to get in touch with us.