Neonatal Leave and Pay Campaign

Mum sat on a hospital chair with her baby resting on her chest. In the background is an incubator and monitor

The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill, introduced by Stuart C McDonald MP, reached Royal Assent on 24 May meaning it is now law!

The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill aims to provide additional leave and pay for employees with responsibility for children receiving neonatal care in England, Scotland and Wales. For parents who meet the qualifying criteria, it will offer up to 12 weeks of extra leave and pay. This provides vital time with their babies if they are born premature or sick without the worry of returning to work.

Qualifying criteria:

  • You meet the minimum service and earning requirements
  • You are an employee
  • Your baby is cared for in a health setting for more than 1 week before they reach 28 days of life

Unfortunately, the implementation of the Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act is estimated to be in April 2025. So, until then, you will not be able to claim.

How we got here

Neonatal Leave and Pay was a Conservative Manifesto commitment at the 2019 election. The Government went on to include the proposal in the March 2020 Budget.

The Government consulted on proposals in 2019 and their response to the consultation committed to:

  1. Introduce leave for parents of babies in neonatal care
  2. Introduce statutory pay for parents of babies in neonatal care
  3. Legislate to implement the entitlement and the relevant commitments they were making in the forthcoming Employment Bill

The Employment Bill was, however, never introduced.

Although the Government did not bring forward the required legislation, the Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) bill was introduced which sought to deliver on their commitment by SNP MP, Stuart McDonald.

Bliss has worked closely Stuart McDonald and other MPS, and continues to work closely with Civil Servants to make sure the new law will be as good as it can be. Thanks to our campaigning, the new law will:

  • Both parents will each be entitled to up to 12 weeks leave and pay
  • It will apply to all babies who have a hospital admission of a week or more shortly after birth - regardless of whether they were born premature, or full-term but sick
  • An amendment to legislation will mean more people will qualify for neonatal pay
NLP graphic June 2023

I'm an employer, what can I do?

We've collaborated with HR specialists and employers to provide guidance on on how neonatal leave and pay can be implemented in the work place now.

Employer guide

Download our briefing full of information about how to introduce neonatal leave and pay more quickly, and how to best support your employees if their baby is born needing neonatal care.

I'm an employee, what can I do?

We know that for many families this change simply won't happen quickly enough. But employers can implement the changes ahead of time. Use our letter of support to help encourage your employer to make a difference to families now.

Employee letter of support

Use our letter to encourage your employer to implement these changes as soon as possible

We know how hard it is if this support would make a difference to you right now. You can talk to someone in our support team, or find out more about the support that is available to you.