Huge law changes to give new parents extra paid time off and protection from redundancy | The Sun

NEW parents and carers are being given extra protections at work including rights to more paid leave and redundancy support.

Three new government bills were granted royal assent yesterday, May 24, which is the final step before they become law.

The first bill gives employed parents whose children are admitted to neonatal care up to 12 weeks of paid neonatal care leave.

This will come in addition to other leave and pay entitlements such as maternity and paternity, and help parents stay with their babies.

Secondly, redundancy rules will be extended to cover pregnancy and a period of time after parents return to work.

The current rules only protect those on maternity leave, adoption leave and shared parental leave.

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However, it's not yet clear how long parents would be protected after returning to work.

Lastly, unpaid carers will get the right to request a week of flexible unpaid leave a year, helping those working and caring for dependents with long-term care needs at the same time.

The Government said it will lay down secondary legislation in "due course", but it's not yet confirmed how long it'll take.

The rules come after research by the Equality and Human Rights Commission found that one in nine mums were either dismissed, made compulsorily redundant or treated so poorly they felt they had to leave their job.

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Charities have also been calling for further support for the millions of unpaid carers in the UK.

Business Minister Kevin Hollinrake said: “We know how stressful it can be for parents caring for a new-born 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."

In other worker rule changes, more than one million workers are set to get a wage boost of £200 each.

Plus, another 1.6million workers are set to benefit from a holiday pay change.

Thousands of new mums on maternity leave also got a bumper pay boost in April.

What is maternity pay and how much do I get?

When you take time off work to have a baby, you might be eligible for statutory maternity leave and statutory maternity pay. 

This means that you will be able to take time off work and get paid a certain amount by your employer. 

It is worth remembering that there is a difference between Maternity Leave and Maternity Pay. 

Maternity Leave is the amount of time you can have off to look after your baby and maternity pay is how much money you could be given while you aren’t working. 

Statutory Maternity Leave is 52 weeks. It’s made up of:

  • Ordinary Maternity Leave – first 26 weeks
  • Additional Maternity Leave – last 26 weeks

You don’t have to take 52 weeks but you must take two weeks’ leave after your baby is born (or four weeks if you work in a factory).

Usually, the earliest you can start your leave is 11 weeks before the expected week of childbirth.

Statutory Maternity Pay is the amount of cash you are given when not working. 

The amount you get paid on maternity isn’t the same as when you are working. 

You can be paid for up to 39 weeks. You get:

  • 90% of your average weekly earnings (before tax) for the first six weeks.
  • £172.48 or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for the next 33 weeks.

SMP is paid in the same way as your wages (for example monthly or weekly). Tax and National Insurance will be deducted.

To be eligible for statutory maternity leave, you have to be an employee and you must give your employer the correct notice. 

You must also:

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  • Earn on average at least £123 a week
  • Give the correct notice and proof you’re pregnant
  • Have worked for your employer continuously for at least 26 weeks continuing into the "qualifying week" – the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth

There are also rules you have to follow around how to claim maternity leave and pay, such as giving proof you’re pregnant and telling your employer. 

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