The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023

The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023 (the Act), which received Royal Assent on 24 May 2023, is set to take effect in April 2025. This Act introduces significant changes to the rights of parents whose babies require neonatal care.

Current Situation

Presently, parents must use their annual leave or other types of parental leave to care for a baby needing neonatal treatment. This can be particularly challenging and stressful for families already dealing with a medical crisis.

The new law aims to alleviate some of these challenges by granting specific leave and pay entitlements for neonatal care.

New Leave Entitlements under The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023

Parents will be entitled to take up to 12 weeks of neonatal care leave in addition to existing parental leave entitlements.

It is available if a baby has received medical or palliative neonatal care for at least seven consecutive days within the first 28 days after birth. We await the regulations to know what what constitutes medical or palliative care and what is deemed to be continuous.

This leave entitlement is a day one right, meaning it is available from the first day of employment and no minimum service period is required, mirroring maternity leave.

Statutory Neonatal Care Pay

Mirroring the entitlement to maternity pay, the right to receive statutory neonatal care pay requires 26 weeks of service and earnings on average of at least £123 a week.

Employment Rights and Protections

Employees who take neonatal leave will be entitled to the same employment rights and protections as those taking other forms of family-related leave.

This includes protection from any detriment or discrimination for taking or seeking to take neonatal leave.

Note that the Act allows for the possibility of regulations that may require employers to provide alternative employment if redundancy occurs during any period of neonatal leave. Whilst we will have to wait for the regulations to see if this is indeed implemented, considering this already applies to those on maternity, adoption or shared parental leave the probability is high.

Practical Implications for Employers of The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023

Whilst the intent of the Act primarily is to extend the leave duration for parents with babies requiring neonatal care, employers may find that employees choose to transition from maternity leave to neonatal leave after the end of statutory maternity pay at 39 weeks, moving to Neonatal Care Leave and Statutory Neonatal Pay for 12 weeks. This could potentially extend an employee’s paid leave for nearly a full year, albeit at statutory rates unless the employer offers enhanced pay.

How Butcher & Barlow Solicitors Can Assist

At Butcher & Barlow, we understand that any new legislation can pose challenges and we are here to help support both employers and employees in navigating the introduction of the Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023.

For employers, we offer a comprehensive policy review and update service to ensure your workplace policies are fully compliant with the new Act. This includes training sessions tailored for HR personnel and management, focusing on handling neonatal leave requests and understanding the new entitlements ahead of implementation.

As an employee you can rely on us for clear and practical advice on understanding your rights under the new Act. We provide detailed assistance in applying for neonatal care leave and pay, ensuring you are fully informed and supported throughout the process. If you encounter any issues such as discrimination or unfair treatment related to taking or seeking neonatal leave, our team will provide guidance and support to protect your rights.

By bridging the gap between understanding and implementing the provisions of the Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023, Butcher & Barlow is committed to fostering a more supportive and compliant environment for all. Whether you are an employer seeking to adapt to new regulations or an employee looking for guidance on your entitlements, we are here to help you every step of the way.

For further advice and guidance, contact Mohammed Balal on or on 0161 764 4062 for an initial no obligation chat.


Mohammed Balal

Mohammed Balal