Parental bereavement leave legislation update

New workplace rights to give paid leave to those who have suffered the loss of a child and ensure they are treated compassionately by employers were set out by the government today.

Parliament

Tommy's news, 02/11/2018

We are pleased to see new workplace rights to give paid leave to parents who have suffered a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy were set out by the government today.

Recognising that the law needs to cater for a variety of family circumstances, the government has confirmed that those who are eligible under the Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Act will be widened beyond parents to all primary carers for children, including adopters, foster parents and guardians.

It will also cover more informal groups such as kinship carers, who may be a close relative or family friend and have assumed responsibility for the care of the child in the absence of the parents.

The Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Act, which is expected to come into force in 2020, ensures bereaved employees who lose a child under 18 will receive 2 weeks’ leave as a day-one right. Eligible employees will also receive 2 weeks statutory pay. This is the first law of its kind the UK.

Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst, said:

It is important this new law is designed so that people are given the space and respect to grieve in their own way.

Following feedback from parents and employers, the government today published its response to the public consultation and announced further details about how the new right will work:

  • Leave can be taken either in 1 block (of 1 or 2 weeks) or as 2 separate blocks of 1 week.
  • Leave and pay can be taken within a 56 week window from the child’s death so as to allow time for important moments such as anniversaries.
  • Notice requirements will be flexible so that leave can be taken without prior notice very soon after the child’s death.
  • Employers will not be entitled to request a copy of death certificate to use as evidence.

Francine Bates, Chief Executive of The Lullaby Trust said:

We are very pleased that the government has listened to bereaved families and responded to their concerns in paving the way for the implementation of the new Act. Losing a baby or child is a devastating experience for all the family and extending the provisions of the act to adopters, foster carers, guardians and kinship carers is very important. Offering time and flexibility to bereaved families at a time that best suits them is also crucial in supporting them through their journey.

This is the first law of its kind in the UK enshrining a new workplace right to leave for bereaved parents and a great step in the right direction. 

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