Parental bereavement leave April 2020 introduction confirmed
Since July 2018 we’ve been keeping an eye on proposals for the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Bill. The Royal Assent of the Bill on 13th September 2018 saw the Government enshrine in law, the first piece of legislation of its kind in UK history.
Under the Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Act, primary carers – not just parents – will be entitled to time off work following the death of a child. Under new guidelines (yet to be published) this can include adopters, foster parents and guardians, as well as more informal groups such close relatives or family friends who have taken responsibility for the child’s care in the absence of parents.
It has now been confirmed that parents and primary carers who suffer the loss of a child under the age of 18 or a still birth after 28 weeks of pregnancy will be entitled to at least two weeks’ paid parental bereavement leave from April 2020.
People’s eligibility to receive the entitlement was widened beyond just parents, following feedback from a consultation that ran earlier this year. Also, employees with 26 weeks’ continuous service will receive paid leave at the statutory rate and other staff will be entitled to unpaid leave.
The legislation is expected to benefit around 8,000 bereaved working parents a year. It will apply to those affected by the tragedy of childhood mortality during the course of their employment and will go some way to reduce the pressure on employees to return to work before they are ready.
Leave can either be taken in one block or in two separate blocks of one week. It can be taken within a 56 week window from the child’s death, to allow time for moments such as anniversaries, and notice requirements will be flexible so leave can be taken without prior notice, plus, parents will not need to provide the employer with a death certificate as evidence.
Francine Bates, chief executive of The Lullaby Trust charity, said it was pleased the Government had listened to bereaved families’ concerns and made the entitlement available to more carers and guardians.
“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,” she said.
“Offering time and flexibility to bereaved families at a time that best suits them is also crucial in supporting them through their journey.”
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