Article
April 16th, 2024

What Employers Can Do To Improve Family Leave Policies In Line With Recent Legislation Changes

In the ever-evolving landscape of today’s business world, the competition for top talent is highly competitive. With so many companies offering exciting jobs, it can be a challenge to hold on to talented employees. This is where company policies play a big role. They show what a workplace is all about—what’s expected, what rights people have, and what perks they can enjoy. These policies are the foundation of company culture, shaping how employees feel about where they work. There are a number of ways you can enhance your company policies and Goodwille can help you with developing & implementing these enhancements. Choosing to voluntarily adopt upcoming legislation changes early can put you on the front foot, showing your workforce you are forward-thinking, following legislation and thinking about employee wellbeing.

 

Pay Changes: The rate of Statutory Maternity, Adoption, Shared Parental, Paternity and Parental Bereavement pay increases to £184.03 per week from £172.48 per week (or 90% of their average weekly earnings, whichever is lower).

 

Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023 – by April 2025

Received Royal Assent in May 2023.

The Act allows eligible employees whose new-born baby is admitted to neonatal care to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave (payment likely to be capped in line with statutory maternity, and leave to be taken within a restricted timeframe), in addition to the right to take other leave such as maternity or paternity leave.

What does this mean for your business? Although this will not be introduced in law until 2025; employers are making amendments and additions to their family leave polices now.

How do Goodwille plan to act?: We have already made discretionary changes to those needing to take Neonatal Leave. Of course, acting as an employer, discretion is advised where appropriate. Read more about Marketing Manager, James and his experience taking neonatal leave to gain an interesting perspective on employment when such events take place.

 

Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act – 6th April 2024

The Bill aims to provide protection from redundancy during or after pregnancy, or after periods of maternity, adoption or shared parental leave.

The new bill proposes to extend redundancy protection to cover pregnant employees from when they tell the employer they are pregnant, until 18 months after the birth. The 18-month window ensures that a mother returning from a year of maternity leave can receive six months’ additional redundancy protection. It will also apply to adoption leave and shared parental leave.

What does this mean for your business? Your policies will change entirely. Those employees returning from maternity, adoption or shared parental leave will have first priority over other suitable alternatives (if any exist) when it comes to redundancy.

How do Goodwille plant to act?: With a new legislation in place, we will implement a clear system to easily identify which employees have will have priority should any restructuring take place here. This will include accurate dates when the employer was ‘informed of the pregnancy’ and known start or end dates. We will also introduce clear company-wide guidelines to ensure employees and managers specifically, are aware of the new rules to avoid feelings of bias when it comes to any potential redundancy or restructuring scenarios.

 

Changes to Paternity Leave – 6th April 2024

Rather than taking two weeks off all in one go, employees will now be able to take their leave one week at a time. They will be able to take it any time in the 52 weeks after the birth or adoption of the child. Employees now only need to give 28 days’ notice before the expected birth of the child or adoption rather than the previous 15-week notice.

How do Goodwille plan to act?: At Goodwille, we already have an enhance Paternity Scheme in place depending on length of service.

Basic Package
Less than 1 year of service means you will be entitled to statutory paternity pay (as calculated from your child’s expected week of birth).

Enhance Package
Between 1 and 4 years of service means our employees are entitled to a top up on paternity pay – the first 2 weeks are paid at 100% of your normal basic salary (inclusive of any Statutory Paternity Pay)

Loyalty Package
4+ years of service means our employees are entitled to a top up on paternity pay – the first 4 weeks are paid at 100% of your normal basic salary (inclusive of any Statutory Paternity Pay)

 

Maternity Leave (no changes besides SP)

How do Goodwille plan to act?: At Goodwille, we already have an enhance Maternity Scheme in place depending on length of service.

Basic Package

Less than 1 year of service means you will be entitled to statutory paternity pay (as calculated from your child’s expected week of birth).

Enhanced Package

If you have between 1 and up to 4 years of service (as calculated from your child’s expected week of birth) you will be entitled to the following:

  • Top up on maternity pay – the first 12 weeks are paid at 90% of Average Weekly Earnings;
  • Return to work bonus – once you have been back at work for 6 months a lump sum payment is given to top up 4 weeks of your SMP statutory rate to your 90% of Average Weekly Earnings.*

Loyalty Package

4+ years of service means our employees are entitled to a top up on maternity pay – the first 12 weeks are paid at 90% of Average Weekly Earnings; then following 4 weeks at 50% of basic salary

  • Return to work bonus – once you have been back at work for 6 months a lump sum payment is given to top up 8 weeks of your SMP statutory rate to your 90% of average weekly earning.*

*The return to work bonus will be calculated on the basis of your normal basic gross salary and payable on completion of 6 months service on return from maternity leave.

If you return to work on a part-time basis, the return to work bonus will be reduced on a pro rata basis according to the number of days or hours you work relative to a full-time entitlement.

 

Shared Parental Leave – 6th April

Shared parental leave gives more flexibility in how 2 parents can care for their child. Eligible parents can get shared parental leave in the first year after the birth or placement of their child and are allowed up to 50 weeks given that the mother has taken the statutory 2 weeks.

Unlike statutory maternity leave, shared parental leave can be taken in 2 week long blocks at any point after the birth or placement. There has also been a change in notice period required before the intended leave. This has gone from 56 days after birth or placement to 15 weeks.

SMP is paid at the higher rate of 90% of the mother’s average earnings for the first six weeks. After the first six weeks SMP is paid at the statutory rate. ShPP is only paid at the statutory rate so a mother will usually be better off on maternity leave for the first six weeks and possibly for longer if her employer offers enhanced contractual maternity pay. (https://maternityaction.org.uk/advice/shared-parental-leave-and-pay/)

See above for enhanced Maternity and Paternity Leave.