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Government backs enhanced family-friendly rights for employees

The government has announced its support for the following Private Members’ Bills which, if passed by Parliament, will give employees additional protection against redundancy and a new right to one week’s unpaid carer’s leave.

  • Redundancy protection

The current position is that parents who are at risk of redundancy whilst on maternity, adoption or shared parental leave have additional protection against being made redundant as they must be offered any suitable alternative vacancy with their employer or an associated employer.  The Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Bill will give the Secretary of State power to extend the circumstances under which an employer must offer an employee suitable alternative employment.  It is indicated that once the Bill is passed, the government will make regulations that require employers to make such offers to:

  • women at risk of redundancy once they have told their employer they are pregnant or following a miscarriage; and
  • parents who have taken maternity, adoption or shared parental leave if they are at risk of redundancy within 18 months of a child’s birth or adoption.

It is not yet known when new regulations will come into force.

  • Carer’s leave

The government has further confirmed its support for the Carer’s Leave Bill which, if passed by Parliament, will allow employers to take up to a week’s leave each year to provide or arrange care for a dependent with a long-term care need.  It is expected that the new right will come into force in 2024.  The details of the right are not yet clear.

We will update you further once it is clear that the above Bills will become law, by which time we will have more detail in relation to the proposed new rights.

Pregnant lady on the phone talking to her employer about family friendly employee rights.