Skip to content
Call us on: 01604 60 95 60

Get in touch

In need of legal advice? Leave us a message, we’d love to hear from you!

    X Close

    New employment regulations come into force

    PLEASE NOTE: Information in this article is correct at the time of publication, please contact DFA Law for current advice on older articles.

    Changes to the protection offered to pregnancy employees and those returning from maternity, shared parental or adoption leave.

     The Maternity Leave, Adoption Leave and Shared Parental Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024 (SI 2024/264) (MASPA Regulations) came into force from 6 April 2024, and extend the legal protection from redundancy that until now only applied to employees actually on maternity leave, adoption leave or shared parental leave.

    The protection will apply to pregnant women and to new parents who have recently returned from any period of maternity or adoption leave, or from a period of six or more weeks of shared parental leave.

    MASPA gives the following additional redundancy protections:

    • Pregnancy. Additional redundancy protection will start when an employee tells their employer about their pregnancy and ends when statutory maternity leave starts. If the pregnancy ends and they are not entitled to statutory maternity leave, the protected period ends two weeks after the end of pregnancy.
    • Maternity leave. The protected period lasts throughout maternity leave and ends 18 months after the child’s birth.
    • Adoption leave. Additional redundancy protection ends 18 months after the child’s placement or the date they enter Great Britain (in the case of overseas adoptions).
    • Shared parental leave. For those taking six or more consecutive weeks of shared parental leave but who have not taken maternity or adoption leave, the additional protection ends 18 months after the date of the child’s birth or placement.

    Where the protected period covers pregnancy, the new rules apply to employees who notify their employer that they are pregnant on or after 6 April 2024.

    Where it relates to employees returning from maternity or adoption leave, the new rules apply where the relevant leave ended on or after 6 April 2024.

    The new rules apply to employees who have taken a period of six consecutive weeks’ shared parental leave, when the relevant leave started on or after 6 April 2024.

    What protection is given?

    If an affected employee is selected for redundancy during any of the protected periods listed above, that employee is entitled to be offered a suitable alternative vacancy (where one is available).

    When considering suitable vacancies, any jobs at associated employers (e.g. group companies) must also be taken into account.

    Where a suitable vacancy is available, the employee is entitled to be offered that role ahead of other employees who are also at risk of redundancy. The employee should not be asked to undergo a competitive interview process.

    If the employer does not comply with this requirement, an employee will have a claim for automatic unfair dismissal.

    It is important to note that the obligation to offer a suitable alternative vacancy only applies after an employee has been selected for redundancy.

    An employee’s pregnancy or family related leave must not be taken into account when deciding who to make redundant because this could constitute sex discrimination against any male employees in the “at risk” pool.

    For further information or advice on obligations and rights under the MASPA Regulations, please contact Michael Nadin on 01604 609 566 or by email here


    Back To Top