What do the new redundancy rights mean for working parents?

HR expert Kate Palmer from Peninsula outlines your new redundancy rights if you are pregnant or on maternity leave.

Pregnant woman at work

 

On 6th April, pregnant employees gained special redundancy rights. And for staff who are already taking family leave or plan on taking leave in the future, they had their rights extended.

To find out what this law change means for working parents in your business, here’s what you need to know…

What were the previous redundancy rules?

Employees on family leave already had special protection rights in a redundancy before 6th April 2024. This protection still stands. Meaning, you have to offer staff on maternity, adoption, or shared parental leave (SPL) a suitable alternative role before other employees. That’s if an alternative role is available. This right didn’t previously, however, extend to pregnant staff.

What are the new rules for pregnant employees?

As of 6th April, pregnant employees now have the same special redundancy rights as employees on family leave. This protection starts from the moment your employee tells you they’re pregnant. It will then last up until 18 months after their child’s expected week of childbirth (EWC) or exact birth date (if they provide this).

What does this legal change mean for staff who are currently on family leave?

For staff who are already taking maternity, adoption or shared parental leave, they’ll also have their redundancy rights extended if their leave ends on or after 6th April 2024.

This gives employees who are already on leave or plan on taking leave up to 18 months of redundancy protection after their child’s Expected Week of Childbirth or date of placement in adoption cases. (Note: employees on Shared Parental Leave will only have protection after their leave ends if they’ve taken at least six consecutive weeks of leave).

What’s the statutory redundancy pay for 2024?

Employers have to pay a certain amount of statutory pay to an employee they’re making redundant. How much they have to pay their employee depends on their age, length of service, and weekly pay.

You have to use the below formula to figure it out:

  • Employees under 22 years old are entitled to half a week’s pay for each full year of work
  •  Employees aged 22-40 get one week’s pay for each full year of work
  • Employees aged 41 and over get one and a half week’s pay for each full year of work

The maximum number of years employers can count towards their employee’s redundancy pay is capped at 20. An employee’s weekly pay is also capped at a certain limit. So if they earn more than this limit a week, any extra earnings wouldn’t go towards their redundancy pay.

As of April 2024, the maximum limit on a week’s pay is £700. Meaning, an employee could be entitled to receive up to a maximum of £21,000 in redundancy pay. Employers will need to make note of this if they’re considering redundancies in their business.

Employers should seek redundancy support if they need it

Hopefully, employers won’t be in a position where they have to make redundancies. However, if they are, they must always follow a full and fair redundancy process.

Even if they do offer an employee a suitable alternative position, they might refuse it. And in that case, employers would still need to follow the right protocol to avoid the risk of facing an unfair dismissal claim.

If employers are unsure of the steps they need to take or have any concerns, they shouldn’t hesitate to seek expert HR advice.

*Kate Palmer is HR Advice and Consultancy Director at Peninsula which provides HR and health & safety support for small businesses.



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