How Businesses Can Prepare for Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023

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New parents whose babies were born early and required some form of neonatal care had to use their maternity, paternity or shared parental leave. This meant they often had to return to work when either their baby was still receiving neonatal care or had recently returned home from the hospital.

The changes to the Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023

The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023 enables new parents to use neonatal leave in addition to their entitlement to maternity, shared parental or paternity leave. It remains to be seen whether the new law will come into force next year or will be shelved due to the change in government.

Who’s eligible for neonatal care leave and pay and how it works

New parents can request neonatal leave from the first day of their employment. However, they need to have been employed for 26 weeks before they are eligible for neonatal pay. The pay will be paid at the current statutory rate which changes every April. It remains to be seen whether the leave and pay elements are aligned so both are rights from day one.

Any new parent who has a child born early and requires longer than 7 days neonatal care is eligible. As maternity leave is triggered by the birth, new mothers will need to add neonatal leave onto the end. The maximum amount of leave is 12 weeks and is paid at the current statutory rate.

3 top tips for employers

  1. Review and update staff handbooks.
  2. Offer training to HR staff.
  3. Seek legal assistance if you receive a request and are not sure what to do.

Stay informed, update your policies, and ensure your HR team is ready to support new parents effectively. For personalised guidance on all employment law, contact us to discuss your specific needs and concerns at 01453 847200 or email us at


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