On 15th July 2022, the government backed the neonatal care bill which creates a statutory right to leave and pay for parents of babies who are required to stay in neonatal care. The provisions will be available in relation to a ‘neonate’ (a baby aged up to and including 28 days old) who is admitted to neonatal care for a continuous period of seven days or more.
This allows situations where a baby is discharged home and is admitted later or is admitted more than once.
The right to neonatal leave would be available to employees who have the main responsibilities for caring for the child these are likely to be the following relationships:
- Mother & Father
- The mother’s spouse, civil partner, or partner who lives with the mother and baby in an enduring relationship
- The intended parents in a surrogacy arrangement
- The intended parents in an adoption arrangement
The right to neonatal leave would be a ‘day one’ right, helping employees qualify for it where they don’t qualify for paternity leave.
Eligibility for neonatal pay will be subject to the same minimum earnings test as other statutory payments.
The maximum number of weeks of both leave and pay will be capped at 12 weeks and will be added to the end of statutory maternity leave as a black of one or more whole weeks.
Employers will be able to reclaim a proportion of statutory neonatal pay in line with the recovery of other statutory payments.
No timescales have been given for the introduction of this provision so we will update you as and when this is announced.