Parents whose newborn babies need specialist hospital neonatal care are about to gain an eligibility to take 12 weeks of neonatal leave, potentially with neonatal pay, on top of their applicable statutory maternity and paternity leave and pay entitlements. This will come via the Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill, which the government has just backed. Its aim is to enable parents to spend vital time with their babies if they are born premature or sick and help to minimise the financial impact of longer serving employees having time off work.
The new right to the additional 12 weeks’ leave will:
✧ Be available to parents from day one of employment.
✧ Apply to parents whose babies are admitted to hospital up to the age of 28 days old.
✧ Apply to babies who need to stay in hospital for seven continuous days or more.
✧ Have to be taken in minimum periods of one week.
✧ Have to be taken within a minimum of 68 weeks starting from the date of the child’s birth.
The 12 weeks will be paid:
✧ If the employee (a) has at least 26 weeks’ continuous service and (b) has weekly earnings at or above the current lower earnings limit (currently £123 per week for 2022 to 2023).
✧ At a rate to be specified within Regulations in due course.
✧ For at least the first 12 weeks of neonatal leave taken.