Big Win for Parents and Carers: Three Laws Get Royal Assent

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Photo Credits: Kelli McClintock via Unsplash

Good news for all working parents and carers in the UK as, on May 24th, the UK government gave Royal Assent to three new laws:

  • Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023
  • Carer’s Leave Act 2023
  • Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Law) 2023

In a press release published on May 25th by the UK Department for Business and Trade and Kevin Hollinrake MP, it is mentioned that the rights come from member’s bills which were backed by the government. The press release also expresses how this is a huge win for working parents and carers, especially after the minimum wage also increased earlier this year.

How Are Parents and Carers Going to Benefit?

The Neonatal Care Act, introduced by Stuart C McDonald MP, will now allow eligible working parents, i.e., parents whose kids are in neonatal care, to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave. This leave allowance will not interfere with their maternity/paternity leave.  

READ: Pregnancy Loss – How HR Can Support Employees

The Carers Act has brought forward a new entitlement to unpaid carers in the UK. Employees taking care of dependents who need long-term care will now be entitled to one week of flexible unpaid leave per year. Introduced by Wendy Chamberlain MP, this act aims to create a balance for carers between their work and caring responsibilities and will allow close to 2 million unpaid carers to support their loved ones.

Introduced by Dan Jarvis MP, the Protection from Redundancy Act will prove to be an asset to working parents. Through this act, the protection against redundancies will extend to employees on maternity, adoption or parental leave. Additionally, it will cover pregnant employees as well as new parents (for a short period of time)

There is no date on when these will come into effect, but the press release mentioned that the Government will create more legislation to implement these new entitlements. In addition, the press release has statements from Kevin Hollinrake MP who says –

“We know how stressful it can be for parents caring for a newborn in neonatal care, or someone who is trying to juggle work with caring responsibilities, and these additional protections will ensure they get the support they need.

Over the past year, we have proven our commitment to supporting workers across the UK, including raising the national living wage to its highest yet. Protecting and enhancing workers’ rights whilst supporting businesses to grow remains a priority for this government and dynamic labour helps to drive up wages, employment and economic growth”

READ: Childcare: Does The UK Need to Do Better?

“This is a Historic Moment”

Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, celebrates this achievement in a press release published on the same day the Carers Act received Royal Assent. In her statement, she shares that this new law will be great news for many who have been part of this decades-long campaign to improve carers’ rights.

She further adds, “Managing these dual responsibilities is often stressful and demanding. Being able to use Carer’s Leave will remove guilt for many workers needing to take some time out to care, or having to use their annual leave – their own rest time”

Additionally, she believed this will help big businesses too as it will improve staff well-being and companies will be able to retain talent more successfully.

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