Scrase Law Employment Solicitors

Parental bereavement leave entitlement from April

From 6 April, employees who lose a child under the age of 18, or suffer a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy, will be entitled to two weeks’ statutory parental bereavement leave.

Following the Government’s announcement earlier this month, draft regulations have been published setting out the detail of the entitlement.  Key provisions in the draft regulations are as follows:

  • The right for employees to take parental bereavement leave will apply from day one of employment.  There is no qualifying length of service required.
  • Employees will be able to take the two weeks’ leave in one block or as two separate blocks of a week. 
  • Employees will have up to 56 weeks from the date of death (or stillbirth) to use up their leave entitlement.  The Government had previously indicated that this was intended to allow parents to take leave around the anniversary of the death.
  • An employee must give their employer notice of their intention to take parental bereavement leave, specifying the date of death, the date on which the employee chooses the period of leave to begin and whether they intend to take one or two week’s leave. 
  • The length of notice that the employee must give to the employer will differ depending on when the leave will be taken.  If the employee intends to take leave within 56 days after the death, the employee must give notice before they are due to start work on their first day of absence or as soon as is reasonably practicable.  If the employee intends to take leave after the 56-day period, the employee must give at least one weeks’ notice to their employer.   The notice will not need to be in writing.
  • Employees with at least 26 weeks’ service who meet minimum earnings criteria will also qualify for statutory parental bereavement pay. This will be £151.20 per week or 90% of earnings, whichever is lower.
  • Employees will have to provide a written declaration to their employer of their entitlement to statutory parental bereavement pay.

Comment

This is the first time that employees in the UK will have a legal right to take parental bereavement leave.  As we reported earlier, current statutory provisions for time off for dependants allow employees to take reasonable unpaid time off work where it is necessary in consequence of the death of a dependant, which would include a child.  However, this only enables an employee to deal with the logistical matters arising as a result of a death, rather than giving a right to compassionate leave. 

The new regulations are known as Jack’s Law, in memory of Jack Herd.  Jack’s mother had campaigned for the right for bereaved parents to take leave from work after the death of a child.

28 January 2020

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