Enhanced redundancy protection for parents set to implement in the Spring

Thursday 25th January 2024

Parents are set to benefit from enhanced protection from redundancy whilst on maternity or paternity leave.

The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023 received Royal Assent May 2023. The legislation is set to come into force April 2024. Here are the changes the Act will introduce.

Previous protection

Under current legislation, parents on maternity, adoption or shared parental leave are protected from redundancy during their leave and their employer must provide the employee with a suitable alternative vacancy if one exists. However, this protection does not apply during pregnancy, or to the period after taking the relevant leave. In support of the bill, the Government referred to research that found that 77% of mothers said they had a negative or possibly discriminatory experience during pregnancy, maternity leave and/or on return from maternity leave in a survey conducted by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

New legislation

Protection for a pregnant employee will begin when she informs her employer of the pregnancy and will end either (i) when statutory maternity leave starts or (ii) two weeks after the end of the pregnancy, where there is no right to statutory maternity leave. The legislation also introduces greater job security by adding an “additional protected period” that will also apply for 18 months from either:

  • the day the child is placed with the employee for adoption, for those who have taken statutory adoption leave;
  • the day on which the child was born, or placed for adoption, for those who have taken at least six consecutive weeks’ statutory shared parental leave; or
  • the first day of the expected week of childbirth or the day on which the child is born where the employer has been notified of the birth, for those who have taken statutory maternity leave.

The changes do not prevent employers from making pregnant employees or those who are taking or have taken a period of maternity, adoption or shared parental leave redundant. However, employers should note that all redundancy exercises, including those that start before 6 April 2024 but are continuing on that date, could be affected by these changes.


Employers are urged to have an understanding of those entitled to the new enhanced protections when managing redundancy situations.

For further assistance and support please speak to a member of the Employment Team who will be happy to advise and help implement the above steps for you.