Over the past few months we have been actively supporting three Private Members' Bills currently progressing through Parliament. Each of these was initially promised in the first Queen’s Speech after the 2019 election, although there has been concern that they would not be followed through when the previous UK Government failed to bring forwards its Employment Bill at both the 2021 and 2022 State Opening of Parliament. 

We have also consulted CIPD members on each of these areas when we responded to previous Government consultations and know there is shared support for making changes and improvements. 

As of Friday 21 October, we are pleased to say that the Government has pledged to support each of these three Bills and are hopeful, therefore, they will each become law. By clicking on each individual Bill title you can view its individual passage through Parliament. For more information about how a Bill becomes law, information about the process can be found here.

The three Private Members' Bills are: 

  1. Wendy Chamberlain MP’s Bill

     The Carer’s Leave Bill: Aims to make provision for unpaid leave for employees with caring responsibilities and was introduced in June 2022 by Wendy Chamberlain MP. 

    This leave would be a day one right, available to all employees without any qualifying period. It would apply to anyone caring for a spouse, civil partner, child, parent or other dependent who needs care because of a disability, old age or any illness or injury likely to require at least three months of care. This leave would be unpaid. The maximum duration of the leave and how and when it could be taken would be set by regulations, although the Bill would require the leave entitlement to be at least one week per year.

    Ms Chamberlain has had support from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Carers, both of which have created a campaign form to fill out, which can be found here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/RFFTNYF

    Wendy Chamberlain MP: “Unpaid carers are the absolute backbone of our society. It is estimated that at least 2.3 million working carers who could be eligible for leave under this bill: a huge number of people who currently receive far too little support. This bill will help carers juggle work and care whilst supporting employers to maximise retention and wellbeing. Passing it will be a significant step forwards from all sides.”

    CIPD position: In the longer term, we support Carer’s Leave being paid but passing this Bill would be a pivotal step in recognising and supporting carers in employment. Our consultation response: Carer's Leave Consultation

  2. Stuart McDonald MP’s Bill

    The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill: Aims to create a new statutory leave and pay entitlement for employees, providing up to 12 weeks additional neonatal care leave and pay, one week for every week the child spends in neonatal care, on top of other parental entitlements such as maternity or paternity leave. The Bill was introduced in June by Stuart McDonald MP and passed its Second Reading on 15th July and Committee Stage on 7th September 2022. The Report stage (which is the next one) will likely be on 20th January 2023, with the hope that the Bill may become law by the Spring of 2023. 

    Stuart McDonald MP: “Having a new born baby in neonatal care is an incredibly stressful time, with tens of thousands of parents across the UK facing these challenges every year. Parents want to be able to focus on supporting and being with their newborn, and no parent should have to choose between being with their premature or sick baby in neonatal care and having to go back to work simply in order to make ends meet. 

    Bliss and The Smallest Things in particular, as well as other campaign groups, individuals and cross-party colleagues across the UK Parliament have been tirelessly campaigning for a number of years to highlight the crucial need for neonatal leave and pay and have driven this Bill to this stage. I’m immensely grateful to BEIS and so many other organisations including CIPD for their help and support in taking this Bill forward, and especially to the parents of children who are born premature or sick.”

    CIPD position: The CIPD is supportive of a neonatal pay and leave entitlement and so are our members, in our consultation response (76%) either strongly agreed or agreed that parents of babies who need to spend time in neonatal care should have access to additional pay and leave. 

    Our consultation response: Good work plan: proposals to support families – neonatal leave and pay | CIPD
  3. Dan Jarvis MP’s Bill

    Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Bill: Aims to make provision about protection from redundancy during or after pregnancy or after periods of maternity, adoption or shared parental leave. The Bill was introduced in June by Dan Jarvis MP. 

    The Bill would give the Secretary of State the power through amended regulations to extend the current protections for women on maternity leave to cover a longer period of time during or after a period of pregnancy. This would also give the Secretary of State the power to make equivalent protections for those on adoption leave or shared parental leave.

    Dan Jarvis MP: 
    “My Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Bill is a step towards providing working families with more security and dignity in the workplace. 

    “We are now six years on from the EHRC’s shocking findings that concluded 54,000 women are pushed out of the workforce for being pregnant. Yet nothing has been done to tackle the grotesque levels of discrimination new mums and pregnant women face.

    “The pandemic exacerbated workplace inequalities and today families are facing one of the worst cost-of-living crises in living memory. What new parents need at the very least is job security. 

    “That is why now is the right time to bring forward legislation to strengthen employment rights and I’m very proud my Bill has the backing of the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD).”

    CIPD position: We support the Bill to extend redundancy protections to help ensure that pregnant women and new parents returning from parental leave don’t face discrimination and increased risk of losing their jobs.  Workers should not have to face discrimination due to their personal and family circumstances and it is also in employers’ interests to create inclusive and supportive working cultures that attract and retain working parents.

    Our consultation response: Pregnancy and maternity discrimination: extending redundancy protection for women and new parents | CIPD

About the author

Claire McCartney, Senior Policy Adviser, Resourcing and Inclusion

Claire specialises in the areas of equality, diversity and inclusion, flexible working, resourcing and talent management. She has also conducted research into meaning and trust at work, age diversity, workplace carers and enterprise and has worked on a number of international projects. She is the author of several reports and articles and regularly presents at seminars and conferences.

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