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Family-friendly rights: key differences in Scotland and Northern Ireland

Updating authors: Jo Broadbent, Hogan Lovells, consultant editor (Scotland): Gillian MacLellan, consultant editor (Northern Ireland): Gareth Walls

Future developments

Scotland: There are no future developments specific to Scotland.

Northern Ireland: The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act (Northern Ireland) 2022 provides for parental bereavement leave and pay in Northern Ireland (see below). The Act also extends the parental bereavement leave and pay provisions to those who experience miscarriage. The Act requires Regulations to be made for parental bereavement leave and pay entitlement to apply to miscarriages no later than 6 April 2026.

On 24 October 2022, the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland published a Miscarriage leave and pay consultation. The consultation sets out a proposal to extend the entitlement to parental bereavement leave and pay to qualifying bereaved parents who experience a miscarriage up to the end of 23 weeks of pregnancy. The consultation also proposes to remove the requirement for 26-weeks' continuous employment to qualify for statutory parental bereavement pay (for bereaved parents who experience a miscarriage, stillbirth or death of a child) thereby making statutory parental bereavement pay a day one right. The consultation closed on 19 December 2022. Analysis of responses to this consultation are being undertaken and a Departmental response is expected to be prepared in due course.

In the rest of the UK, the Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act (subject to secondary legislation coming into force) provides a right for qualifying parents to take a period of paid neonatal leave if their baby needs "neonatal care". No corresponding legislation has been introduced in Northern Ireland.