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Changes to Maternity Leave, Adoption Leave & Shared Parental Leave

Currently before Parliament are the draft regulations on amendments to Maternity Leave (ML), Adoption Leave (AL) and Shared Parental Leave (SPL). When passed, with or without amendment, these regulations will bring into force The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023. 

The Act, when it comes into force, will extend protection for employees in relation to redundancy to parents on ML, AL and SPL.


Maternity Leave

The parent will be offered first refusal of any suitable alternative employment which may be available in a redundancy process during pregnancy and 18 months from the estimated week of childbirth.


Adoption Leave

First refusal of suitable alternative employment will be offered 18 months from placement for adoption.


Shared Parental Leave

First refusal of suitable alternative employment will be offered 18 months from birth if the parent has already taken a period of at least 6 consecutive weeks of SPL. Note that this will apply to a parent and not both parents so they cannot aggregate leave for the 6 weeks’ period to obtain entitlement.

A parent cannot benefit from the extended period of protected cover if the parent is already protected on the grounds of ML or AL.

It is intended that the changes will protect employees where:-

  1. In respect of pregnancy, the employer is informed of the pregnancy on or after 6 April 2024; and
  2. In respect of ML and AL, it ends on or after 6 April 2024; and
  3. In respect of SPL, where it starts on or after 6 April 2024.

It is anticipated that the regulations will prevent employers from waiting until the end of a period of leave before commencing a redundancy consultation process in order to avoid an employee on ML, AL or SPL no longer having first refusal of suitable alternative employment.

For further advice in this area or on any employment-related matters, please contact Guy Salter at, or call 01905 723561.

Added: 11 Mar 2024 14:25

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