Neonatal Care Leave & Pay – The Bitesized Edition

25th April 2023

Around 8% of babies are born prematurely in the UK. Currently there are no provisions in place or flexibility if an employee has a sick or premature baby, the employee is required to take their statutory leave. For fathers this means they can only take their 2 week paternity leave entitlement.

In 2022 the Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill was backed by the Government and on 24 March 2023 the Bill passed second reading at the House of Lords.

What does the bill say?

The bill proposes to allow parents to take up to 12 weeks paid leave in addition to their other statutory entitlements such as maternity and paternity leave. It is proposed that the leave entitlement will be a day one right and will apply to parents whose babies are admitted to hospital up to the age of 28 days, and continuously in hospital for 7 or more full days.

It is likely there may be amendments and certain eligibility criteria added however during such a worrying time for parents this is a welcome change in employment law. The current inflexibility of parental leave is likely to exacerbate issues and adds further stress for the parents.

By introducing an entitlement to 12 weeks paid leave in addition to other statutory entitlements will mean some of the stress is alleviated and employees are not having to return to work while their babies are still in hospital.

As this bill has just gone through the second reading in the House of Lords there is still some time until it will pass as law. However, it is likely we will see these changes in 2023.

Need to know more?

For more information on these changes or assistance with updating your policies or contracts, you can contact our Employment Client Services team here, or by calling the team 0344 2640102.

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