Policy Updates: Adapting HR Practices to New Parental Protection Laws
Currently, women on maternity leave, and employees on adoption or shared parental leave (SPL), enjoy priority in cases of redundancy.
This blog delves into the implications of the Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023, shedding light on what this means for employers and how HR practices need to adapt.
What are the existing legal rights and benefits for employees?
The Equality Act 2010 extends protections during pregnancy, maternity, and family leave, prohibiting discrimination on these grounds. These safeguards span from the beginning of pregnancy until the conclusion of maternity leave or the woman's return to work.
Although adoption leave lacks explicit protection under the Equality Act, employees taking such leave are safeguarded from detrimental treatment, and any dismissal directly tied to adoption leave is automatically deemed unfair.
New Parental Protection Laws: What to Expect
Starting July 24, 2023, the Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023 empowers the Secretary of State to extend redundancy protection periods.
- Anticipated regulations may broaden protection from when pregnancy is disclosed to 18 months post-birth.
- Parents returning from adoption leave and SPL could receive similar extended protections (excluding paternity leave).
For example, the UK government plans to enhance flexibility for new fathers in paternity leave. Under the proposed changes, fathers can split their leave into two one-week periods within the first year after the child's birth or adoption.
To do so, they must:
- Inform the employer before expected arrival: 15 weeks before.
- Inform the employer before each leave period: Four weeks before each period.
- Protection period post-miscarriage: Calculated from the end of pregnancy.
Implications for Employers
Outlined below are key highlights of the new legal provisions aimed at protecting employees with a quick overview of the significant changes and considerations employers need to be aware of.
- Returning family leave employees get priority for new jobs.
- Extended protection for new parents and expectant mothers.
- Redundancy-prone employers prioritize pregnant, maternity, adoption, and SPL returnees.
- Failure to prioritize may lead to unfair dismissal claims with uncapped compensation.
In summary, staying informed about the latest developments in parental protection laws is crucial for businesses operating in today's dynamic regulatory landscape.
A comprehensive understanding of these laws not only ensures compliance but also fosters a supportive and inclusive work environment. For any inquiries or further information on parental protection laws, feel free to contact us or explore our Employment Relations or HR compliance.
Disclaimer: While we strive to provide accurate and timely information, please note that HR policies and regulations can change frequently. It is recommended that you seek guidance from our HR consultants to ensure that the data presented here is current and accurate.
In case you would like to have more information on European recruitment and hiring European employees, do not hesitate to contact us.
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Sources: Equality and Human Rights Commission
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