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Employment Update - July 28th 2023

Recent legislation will extend the protection from redundancy for parents during or after pregnancy. Carers and parents of sick or premature babies will also benefit from new statutory leave.

Redundancy rights

Coming into force on 24 July, the redundancy protection period for employees on maternity, adoption, or shared parental leave will be extended to cover any period of pregnancy plus a further period after the employee returns to work from leave.

  • Redundancy protection is expected to start from when an employee informs their employer of their pregnancy.
  • The further period is likely to be six months.
  • During the redundancy protection period employers must give preference to protected employees at risk of redundancy – over other at-risk employees – when offering alternative employment.
  • Currently, redundancy protection only applies while an employee is on maternity, adoption or shared parental leave.

Statutory leave

Working carers will be allowed to take up to a week of flexible unpaid leave each year so they can provide or arrange care for a dependent. The dependent must have a long-term care need.

Parents of sick or premature babies will be allowed to take up to 12 weeks of paid neonatal leave in addition to any other statutory entitlement if their baby needs to be in hospital within 28 days of birth.

Carers’ leave and neonatal leave are not expected to come into force before April 2024 and April 2025 respectively.