Government to introduce neonatal pay and leave entitlements for working parents


Budget 2020: The government has announced today (11 March 2020) that it will create a new neonatal leave and pay entitlement for working parents.

The benefit will be applicable to employees whose babies spend an extended period of time in neonatal care. It will provide up to 12 weeks paid leave so that parents do not have to choose between returning to work and taking care of their vulnerable newborn.

In addition, the government will shortly consult on the design of carers’ leave, namely an in-work entitlement for employees with unpaid caring responsibilities, such as for a family member or dependant. This will support employees that need to balance caring responsibilities with work.

Suzanne Horne, partner and head of the international employment practice at Paul Hastings, said: “The government’s announcement today really results in significantly better rights for fathers and non-birthing parents at an incredibly stressful time. It will also allow mothers to preserve more of their maternity leave for bonding and caring for their child when they return home.

“According to the Treasury Minister, Kemi Badenoch, the government will pay £160 a week for those eligible for up to 12 weeks. While we await the detail as to whether this is open to both parents at the same time, employers are also likely to welcome not just the clarity of knowing how to deal with their employees on this issue, but also that they are not expected to foot the financial burden for this new right.”