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Government responds to Petitions Committee letter on new parents’ employment rights

22 June 2022

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng MP has replied to a letter from Petitions Committee Chair Catherine McKinnell MP asking for an update on the Government’s plans to enhance new parents’ employment rights.

In his response, Kwasi Kwarteng says the Government remains committed to introducing a legal right to leave and pay for parents of babies requiring neonatal care, and to extend redundancy protections for new and expectant mothers into the period after they return to work.

The letter does not provide a timeframe within which these changes will be introduced, but confirms they will be included in new laws which the Government will ask Parliament to consider “as soon as Parliamentary time allows”.

The letter also sets out steps the Government is taking in the meantime. These include developing the IT capacity needed to ensure neonatal leave and pay can come into force as quickly as possible after it’s approved by Parliament. Kwasi Kwarteng also highlights work being undertaken to review guidance on workplace health and safety and discrimination for new and expectant parents.

Petitions Committee letter

In a letter dated 24 May, Catherine McKinnell asked for more information on how the Government intends to deliver on its commitments to extend the rights and protections given to new parents in work. The Government made these commitments in response to the Petitions Committee’s work on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on new parents.

These changes were expected to be included in an Employment Bill, but this Bill was not included in the Queen's Speech. The Queen’s Speech sets out the Government’s plans for new laws, and changes to existing laws, for the parliamentary year ahead.

Further information

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