Three new Acts which will provide greater employment rights and protections for parents and carers received Royal Assent in late May. The government is now required to write new legislation (Regulations) to implement the provisions of these Acts in UK law. It is expected that these new laws will not be implemented until April 2024 at the earliest.
The new rights will cover:
New Parents – where a newborn baby is admitted to neonatal care, parents will be able to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave under the Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act (subject to meeting length of service qualifications). This leave will be available in additional to other parental leave rights, including maternity and paternity leave.
Pregnant Employees and New Parents – who will receive additional protections from redundancy. Currently parents taking Maternity, Adoption or Shared Parental Leave receive protection from redundancy during that leave. The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act permits these protections to extend to both pregnancy and for a time after the leave finishes and the employee returns to work. The Act does not set out the duration of the post-leave protection period. This is expected to be specified in the implementing Regulations.
Carers – Employees who are providing unpaid care for a dependent with a long-term care need will be entitled to one week of unpaid Carer’s Leave per year. The Carer’s Leave Act requires that this leave must be able to be taken flexibly (i.e. not as one block).
South East Employers will advise members of further developments and the potential impacts on policies and procedures once the timescales for the implementation of the Regulations which will bring these measures into law are announced.