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10 July 2023

New family-friendly employment law rights receive Royal Assent

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Three Private Members’ Bills, with government backing, successfully obtained Royal Assent.

With the passing of three Bills, there is now a trio of family-friendly employment law rights. Three Private Members’ Bill with government backing, successfully obtained Royal Assent in May. In summary:


Carer’s Leave Act 2023

This Act will establish a day-one entitlement for eligible employees to take one week of unpaid care leave per year in order to provide or arrange care for a dependent with a long-term care need. “Long-term care need” is expected to cover:

  • Illness or injury that requires, or is likely to require, care for more than three months
  • A disability under the Equality Act 2010
  • Care for a reason connected with old age

Interestingly it is not expected that employees will need to provide any evidence of their entitlement to Carer’s Leave.

Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023

This Act allows eligible parents whose new-born baby is admitted to neonatal care to take up to 12 weeks of leave.  This entitlement is in addition to other leave entitlements such as maternity and paternity leave. The right to neonatal care leave will apply from day one of employment. But the right to neonatal care pay will be subject to a minimum of 26 weeks of continuous service.

According to the Bill’s explanatory notes, the expected time for implementation is 18 months after completing all stages. This is to allow lead time for HMRC and commercial payroll providers to implement changes which enable employers to administer new statutory payments. So, entitlement could be introduced in 2024 or more likely at the start of the new tax year in 2025.


The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023

Under the Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023, expectant employees will receive greater protection during pregnancy. New parents will also have extended protection when they return to work from maternity, adoption and shared parental leave.

These Acts will not be effective straight away there will need to be some time to consider further secondary legislation to set out more detail about each leave type, how it will apply in practice for individuals and employers and how it can integrate with other types of leave and payment/HMRC systems. From an HR perspective, it is great to see more consideration being given to family-friendly initiatives and to recognise that it can be tough being part of the sandwich generation where many people are caring for children and parents at the same time. However, from an Employer perspective the new family-friendly employment law rights may cause worry that employees will be able to take more time off and raise questions about what the cost of that will be to their businesses and how that is reclaimable, if at all.

Author: Charlotte Allfrey | HRi