CIPP response to BEIS consultation on neonatal leave and pay
03 October 2019
The CIPP has submitted its response to BEIS’s consultation document – Neonatal Leave and Pay: Proposals to support parents of children who require neonatal care following birth.
An internal review by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) highlighted that parents of premature, sick and multiple babies can experience significant challenges, particularly in cases where their baby or babies need neonatal care for several weeks or months.
During this time parents may need to travel significant distances between their home and the hospital on a daily basis or even stay in temporary accommodation closer to the hospital. This could introduce issues such as: childcare arrangements for other children; parents’ ability to return to work at the end of their period of arranged leave; as well as the financial costs arising from all of the above.
Prospective parents and new parents enjoy a range of family-related leave and pay rights which enable them to take time off work prior to, and after, the birth of their child. In addition, all employees have the right to take a reasonable amount of time off work to deal with emergencies involving family and other dependants; and employees with 26 weeks’ service have a statutory right to request flexible working.
Nevertheless, evidence gathered so far through the BEIS internal review suggested that current leave and pay entitlements do not adequately support parents where the baby or babies need to spend a prolonged period in neonatal care. To address this the government published a consultation document setting out proposals to support parents of children who require neonatal care.
Our response provided a summary of quantitative results taken from our electronic survey gathering responses from CIPP members and other payroll tax professionals to the consultation questions. We also held a Think Tank roundtable on 20 August and our response incorporated qualitative results through the views and experiences shared by members in attendance.
- There is overwhelming support for the introduction of neonatal pay and leave
- 75% of respondents agreed that neonatal leave and pay should be restricted to parents whose children had spent a minimum of two weeks in neonatal care
- 96% of respondents agreed that neonatal leave should be a day one right
- There was broad agreement to the suggestion that neonatal leave and pay should follow on from other family related leave
- Around 80% of respondents agreed that mothers, fathers and partners should be asked to provide evidence of entitlement before taking neonatal leave, however what form that evidence should take is less clear cut
- There was overwhelming agreement that parents taking neonatal leave should have the same employment protections and right to return to work as employees on parental leave in respect of older children
Overall there is broad agreement with the proposals contained within this consultation, however the CIPP acknowledges that there are issues still to be resolved regarding notice periods, evidence of entitlement and the interaction with shared parental leave.
The CIPP encourages BEIS to continue engaging and involving stakeholders as it explores ways in which these issues can be resolved.
You can read our full formal response at CIPP response to BEIS consultation on neonatal leave and pay.
Open consultation surveys and formal responses can be found under My CIPP/ Policy hub on the CIPP website.
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