New Working Rights for Pregnant Women, Parents and Carers

By Saffron Pruthi


Three ‘family friendly’ Acts received Royal Assent last week (24 May 2023) that will provide pregnant women, parents and carers additional protection at work.

The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 

This will allow eligible employed parents whose newborn baby is admitted to neonatal care to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. This will allow parents to spend more time with their newborn baby during a hugely stressful time.

This new legislation will apply to working parents of babies admitted to hospital up to the age of 28 days who have a continuous stay in hospital of 7 days or more.  

This is in addition to other leave entitlements including maternity and paternity leave but the government is yet to confirm how this new right will work with shared parental leave. 

The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act

This Act extends the existing redundancy protections afforded to employees on Maternity Leave, Adoption Leave or Shared Parental Leave to also cover pregnancy and a period of time after a new parent has returned to work.

This comes after research from the Equality and Human Rights Commission showed that approximately one in nine mothers were either dismissed, made compulsorily redundant or treated so poorly they felt they had to leave their job. This Act will extend existing protections to protect pregnant women and new parents against this discriminatory practice in the workplace.

The Carer’s Leave Act

This creates a new statutory unpaid leave entitlement thatwill allow employees who are caring for a dependant with a long-term care up to five days of flexible unpaid leave a year.  It will be a “day one” right meaning that eligible employees will be able to take Carer’s Leave regardless of how long they have worked for their employer.

This marks a victory for carers’ rights and will hopefully mean more carers can balance paid work and caring for their loved ones.

The Government will lay down secondary legislation that will outline commencement dates and provide further details to implement these new entitlements in due course.

It will now be crucial for businesses to prepare to familiarise themselves with the changes ahead  of implementation.

If you are an employee that would like advice on your rights or if your business needs advice on these additional duties on employers in light of the recent developments, please contact our Employment Team on 0345 646 0406 or fill in our online enquiry form and a member of our Team will be in touch.