Three new pieces of legislation have been passed by Parliament to help support the wellbeing of employees and protect vulnerable workers at difficult times in their lives.

In summary the new laws are:

  • The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023 will allow eligible employed parents whose new-born baby is admitted to neonatal care, to take up to 12 weeks’ paid carer’s leave. This allowance is in addition to other leave and pay entitlements such as maternity and paternity leave.

We shall have to wait for more legislation to fully implement these rights though as full details of pay and leave entitlements still need to be set out. The new entitlements are expected to be available in April 2025.

We shall have to wait for clarity on the actual extension though as, at this stage, the Act only facilitates the making of Regulations to extend the protection rather than actually extending the protection itself.

  • The Carer’s Leave Act – The creation of a new entitlement for employees who are also unpaid carers for a dependant with a long-term care need to have a week of flexible unpaid leave a year, supporting them to better balance their employment and responsibilities.

How will this affect employers?

As an employer, these new laws will apply to your business. Make sure you have read and understand what protections they afford your staff and that your HR team and managers have all received appropriate training as well. We can provide this for you to ensure you are fully prepared.

Should you start to plan now?

Certainly. Knowing how many in your workforce could be impacted by the new laws, and whether they are carers or new or expectant parents is an ideal start to avoid any workflow disruption.

Make sure your policies, such as maternity, paternity or adoption leave, are updated to fully reflect the changes to the law.

Employment contracts should reflect changes to your policies. Ensuring staff contracts are accurate and include the full list of entitlements is a key condition of the Employment Rights Act and not adhering to this can result in an employer facing  financial penalties down the line should staff take a claim to an employment tribunal.

1st June 2023

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