Three new employment laws for 2024

legal updates

The Carers Leave Act, The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act and The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act.

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Three new laws have recently gained royal assent and are expected to come into force in 2024. So, what are these laws and what do they mean for employers?

The Carers Leave Act
For employees who have a dependant with long-term care needs, the act allows for one week of unpaid leave per year. This right is applicable from the first day of the employee’s service and it requires no evidence to be provided other than self-certification. The leave is for any type of care which may include taking the dependant to hospital appointments. As of yet, there are no restrictions on how the leave is used but it has been brought into place to provide a smoother process for both the employer and employee.

The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act
Parents of babies under 28 days old who are admitted to the hospital will have the right to neonatal leave and pay if the baby is in the hospital for a continuous period of seven days or more. The maximum period for the leave is up to 12 weeks and it is to be taken in one block at the end of the maternity/paternity leave. We are yet to know more details as to how this right will work with shared parental leave. This act is also a right given to all employees from their first day of service.

However, the statutory neonatal pay will be subject to 26 weeks of service, and the employee’s earnings must be above the lower earnings limit (currently £123 per week). The employee does need to provide notice, but informal notice will be acceptable when leave is taken very shortly after the hospital admission.

The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act
This act provides an extension to the protection currently in place for employees on maternity leave should a redundancy situation occur. When a company is facing a redundancy situation, employers need to offer those who are on maternity leave a suitable alternative vacancy where one exists. This will also apply to those employees who are on adoption/shared parental leave. The protection from the act will be applicable from when the employee informs their employer of their pregnancy, irrelevant of whether this is verbally or in writing, and will cease 18 months after the birth. We will keep you updated as we know more.

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