What is the Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act?

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We’ve seen piecemeal employment law reforms introduced this year, with several that could affect employers’ responsibilities. Staying abreast of these kinds of changes alongside running your business can be a difficult juggling act – so here’s what you need to know about one of the new Acts likely coming into force next year. 

The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023 increases redundancy protections for specific groups of employees.  The idea behind this new legislation is to extend protections that already exist for employees on maternity leave, adoption leave and shared parental leave. These protections give them priority over other employees when their existing role is being made redundant. 

A government consultation reported that new parents were facing prejudice in the workplace. Around 54,000 new parents felt they had to leave their jobs owing to pregnancy or maternity discrimination each year. 

Despite the Act now being in force, we are still waiting for regulations to be published to say when these new rules will be implemented. With that being said, as a business owner, it’s super important that it’s all stations go once the regulations are rubberstamped. We’ll guide you through the ins and outs of the Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023 in this blog post.


What is covered in the Protection from Redundancy Act?  

As we’ve said, this isn’t a completely new protection – these rights technically already exist. The Protection from Redundancy Act looks set to strengthen these by modifying the existing Employment Rights Act 1996, with changes including: 


  • Currently, employees on maternity leave, adoption leave and shared parental leave must be given priority over other employees. You’re dutybound to offer any suitable alternative employment available when their existing role is being made redundant. 
  • It’s expected the extended protections will give pregnant employees protection from the date they notify their employer of their pregnancy. 
  • The period of extended protection will be set out in regulations (it’s expected to last until six months after the employee has returned from maternity leave and adoption leave – the proposals are less clear for shared parental leave).


In simple terms, the Act provides an even more robust safety net for employees beginning or growing a family.

What does this mean for me as an employer?  

Redundancy can quite often be a complicated and stressful process for employers. Strict rules govern how to approach and carry out the process, and it’s naturally a very sensitive issue in most businesses – so a measured, cautious approach is always wise. 

The Protection from Redundancy Act doesn’t really change the current process when it comes to redundancy. The lengthier timeframe for new parents and expectant mothers is the main consideration to bear in mind. 

But, as the old adage goes, knowledge is power – so being aware and prepared ahead of the new rules coming into force means you’re much more likely to be compliant.  

Stay prepared by considering the following points: 


  • As always, redundancies should be made based on genuine business needs. Be sure to offer potential alternative roles to those employees covered by the Act as a priority. 
  • Additionally, businesses must familiarise themselves with this new act, ensuring that HR practices align with the legislation’s requirements. This might involve revisiting redundancy protocols or offering additional training for managers or HR personnel.
  • If you have several staff members who fall under the Act’s protections,  you will have to tread carefully if considering any potential redundancy exercise. Devise a strategy that you can rely upon to ease any worries. 
  • We can’t say for certain what the consequences will be if you don’t offer a protected employee a suitable alternative vacancy. However, it’s likely the regulations will say that the employee has a claim for an automatic unfair dismissal. 

Remember – a proactive approach will not only help you stay compliant but could also help build a more inclusive and supportive workplace culture to elevate your business.


Does the act protect any other groups? 

Don’t fall into the trap of only thinking of expectant mothers when it comes to the Protection from Redundancy Act. It covers a few groups, including: 


  • a pregnant employee who is in “a protected period of pregnancy”
  • an employee who has recently suffered a miscarriage
  • maternity returners
  • adoption leave returners
  • shared parental leave returners


Protect your business and people with 24/7 advice from Citation

Keeping up with new laws can be a tough task, especially when those laws involve issues that are already tricky, like redundancy. Citation is here to support you with 24/7 advice, redundancy support, legislation updates, and tribunal protection – all in one affordable HR and Employment Law package.

Simply fill in the form on this page or contact us directly at 0345 844 1111 to see how we can support your business. 

Why not check some other handy resources for employers below? 

What is the Carers Leave Act 2023?

Disciplinary processes: our top three tips for employers

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