Neonatal Leave and Pay
Last updated: 17 Nov 2023
The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill was a private members Bill introduced by Stuart McDonald MP on 15 June 2022 and had its first reading in Parliament on the same date. The Bill received royal assent on the 24 May 2023. The proposed Act and amendments to existing legislation can be found at Gov.uk.
The Neonatal Care Leave (NCL) is intended to support employees with a parental or other personal relationship with a baby who is receiving neonatal care.
Jane van Zyl, CEO of Working Families said, “Working Families is delighted to support the Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill. We have worked alongside Stuart McDonald MP and Bliss on this much-needed legislation, which will provide additional leave and pay for employees caring for infants receiving neonatal care.”
This means that the bill will now become law and may make it easier for employees to be granted Neonatal Leave and Neonatal Care Pay to look after their babies. The Act will be known as The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023 and will come into force in April 2025 but will only be available to employees.
What will change?
- Parents will be able to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave and a minimum entitlement of one week, in addition to other leave entitlements such as maternity, paternity and shared parental leave.
- Neonatal Care Leave (NCL) will be a day one right and will apply to parents of babies who are admitted into hospital up to the age of 28 days, and who have a continuous stay in hospital of 7 full days or more.
- In order to qualify for Neo Natal Care Pay (NCP), as with other forms of parental leave, an employee will be required to be employed for a minimum of 26 weeks prior to the leave being requested and earnings on average of at least £123 a week. This mirrors the entitlement to maternity pay.
- NCL must be taken in the first 68 weeks of the baby’s birth.
“In the future, Working Families hopes this legislation could be expanded to include those on different types of employment contracts—not just employees.”
Updates on our website in relation to the new The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023 will be made once the Act comes into force in April 2025.
This advice applies in England, Wales and Scotland. If you live in another part of the UK, the law may differ. Please call our helpline for more details. If you are in Northern Ireland you can visit the Labour Relations Agency or call their helpline Workplace Information Service on 03300 555 300.
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The information on the law contained on this site is provided free of charge and does not, and is not intended to, amount to legal advice to any person on a specific case or matter. If you are not a solicitor, you are advised to obtain specific legal advice about your case or matter and not to rely solely on this information. Law and guidance is changing regularly in this area.
We cannot provide advice on employment rights in Northern Ireland as the law is different. You can visit the Labour Relations Agency or call their helpline Workplace Information Service on 03300 555 300.