HomeLegal UpdateEllisons Solicitors offers employers tips on upcoming law on parental and carers leave  

Ellisons Solicitors offers employers tips on upcoming law on parental and carers leave  

  • 3 Min Read

Julian Outen, Partner and Head of Employment at Ellisons Solicitors, delves into new legislation for parental leave and what it means for employees. 

Featured Image
Julian Outen
Partner and Head of Employment at Ellisons Solicitors

Julian Outen, Partner and Head of Employment at Ellisons Solicitors, delves into new legislation for parental leave and what it means for employees. 

From 6 April 2024, draft Regulations extend further the current right of employees on maternity, adoption, and shared parental leave who are at risk of redundancy, to be offered suitable available employment in preference to other employees who are also at risk, but not on such leave. 

The protection will apply to pregnant employees from the moment they notify their employer of their pregnancy. Currently the right lapses upon return from maternity leave. The enhanced right, however, will afford protection to pregnant employees, and those who are on or have returned from such types of leave, for a period of 18 months from their child’s birth/placement for adoption. For a maternity leaver who has availed themself of their full 12 months’ maternity leave entitlement, this means protection extends for a further 6 months after their return. 

These new rules will apply to any pregnancies notified to the employer on or after 6 April 2024 and in respect of the additional protected period after the end of maternity leave, to any maternity leave ending on or after 6 April 2024. It will also be applicable for adoption leave or relevant shared parental leave ending on or after 6 April 2024. 

Simultaneously, the Carer’s Leave Act 2023 will provide a new statutory right for all employees from the first day of their employment to one week of unpaid leave each year to provide or arrange care for a dependent with a long-term care need. The Carer’s Leave Regulations 2024 are expected to bring this into force on 6 April 2024. 

A “dependant” includes a spouse, civil partner, child, parent, a person who lives in the same household as the employee (other than an employee, tenant, lodger, or boarder); or the wider catch-all provision, of a person who reasonably relies on the employee for care. 

One week of a carer’s leave can be taken each year (regardless of the number of dependants an employee may have). The leave does not have to be consecutive and can be taken as individual or half days, up to and including one week. 

Notably, employees returning from carer’s leave are entitled to their previous position, and any dismissal related to this leave is automatically unfair.  

To prepare for these legislative changes, employers should: 

  • Review processes and ensure managers are aware of these new rights, providing training and guidance where necessary. Employers must endeavour to identify vacancies and offer suitable alternative employment to qualifying employees in order to avoid unfair dismissal and/or discrimination claims. 
  • Familiarise themselves with any new terms pertaining to these law changes, such as “long-term care” and “dependant” to ensure maximum compliance. 
  • When handling personal data, consider GDPR implications related to any redundancy or caring responsibilities. 
  • Make sure payroll and other HR systems reflect the new rights and entitlements, including any additional support and enhanced entitlements for employees taking leave under the updated terms. 
  • Communicate effectively with new and existing employees on key updates. 

These proactive steps will ensure compliance with upcoming regulations, while fostering a supportive and legally compliant work environment for employees and employers alike. 

Was this article helpful?

Subscribe to get your daily business insights

Events

HRD Roundtable: Combating 'Quiet Quitting'…

08 June 2023
  • E-Book
  • 1y

HRD Network Roundtable: The Retention…

15 June 2023
  • E-Book
  • 1y

Manage change and drive value…

01 June 2023
  • E-Book
  • 1y
Sign up to our Newsletter