On 24th July 2023, the Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023 (“Act”) came into force. The Act will enable the Government to increase protections from redundancy for pregnant workers and new parents who have recently returned to work.
Whilst the Act requires secondary legislation to be put in place to implement and changes, the Act itself contains the following suggested provisions:
The Act also amends the sections of the Employment Rights Act 1996 which relate to redundancy protections so that these protections are extended to the period during or after maternity leave, adoption leave, and shared parental leave.
There are proposals that the protected period of pregnancy may be extended to include from the date that the employee notifies their employer of their pregnancy, to the date six months after they return from maternity leave. However, this will be uncertain until such time as the secondary legislation is put in place.
So how does this change the existing law?
Employers are already required to:
The effect of section 10 of the Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations 1999, combined with section 99 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (which makes a dismissal automatically unfair) already gives employees on maternity leave priority.
The key change is that it further emphasises employers will need to take extra care and ensure that suitable alternative roles are offered to employees on and/ or returning from these periods of leave, if any suitable roles are available.
No timescale has been provided for when we can expect the Government to implement the proposed changes. Therefore, we await further updates regarding the exact time periods which will fall into these protections from redundancy.
If you would like to speak to someone about the redundancy process, please contact Victoria Ramshaw in our Employment and Dispute Resolution Team on 01543 267 238 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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