Stephen SimpsonEditor's message: The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023 has received Royal Assent, paving the way for important changes to the right to be offered a suitable alternative vacancy on redundancy in certain circumstances.

The right currently applies only to employees who are absent on maternity, adoption or shared parental leave during the redundancy process.

In relation to pregnancy and maternity leave, the Government is to change the law to extend this redundancy protection period:

  • so that it applies from the point at which an employee informs their employer that they are pregnant; and
  • for a period following the end of maternity leave - with the protected period expected to end 18 months after the birth of the child (giving someone who returns to work after 12 months' maternity leave a further six months' protection on their return to work).

A similar extended protection period is expected to be introduced for those returning from adoption leave and shared parental leave.

Given that further details of the extended protection need to be set out in accompanying Regulations (not yet published), the changes are unlikely to come into effect until 2024.

Stephen Simpson, principal HR strategy and practice editor

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