Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill – watch this space!

On 24 March 2023, the House of Lords revisited the debate on the Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill.  This private member’s bill would create new statutory entitlements to leave and pay for employees with responsibility for a baby receiving neonatal care.

Under the bill, neonatal leave would become a ‘day one’ right and would apply to parents whose children spent at least one week in neonatal care. The maximum entitlement to this leave would be set by regulations but would be one week at a minimum. It would have to be taken within a minimum of 68 weeks starting from the date of the child’s birth.

The right to neonatal care pay during periods of related leave (for example maternity, paternity or adoption leave) would be available to all employees with at least 26 weeks’ continuous service and whose earnings were above the lower earnings limit for national insurance. Regulations would set out the level and duration of pay, but it would be able to be claimed for at least 12 weeks.

The highly anticipated bill would take a reported 18 months following royal assent due to necessary changes to HMRC systems so that employers and payroll providers would have sufficient time to update their systems. Is not likely therefore we will see this in 2023 but watch this space!

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