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Right to parental bereavement leave answers campaigners’ call


ALL of the finer details are to be included within the supporting regulations, which have not yet been published). However, what we know from the Act is: 

  • The rights will apply to all employees from day-one of employment;
  • The new laws will give bereaved employees two weeks’ paid leave if they lose a child under the age of 18. This right extends to a child stillborn after 24 weeks of pregnancy;
  • While we know that the employee must be a bereaved parent, it is not yet known who exactly this will apply to. The regulations will include the conditions required for an employee to be entitled to leave under this Act, but it is expected that these will make reference to whether the employee cared for the child before the child’s death;
  • Employees with a minimum of 26 weeks’ continuous service will be eligible for statutory parental bereavement pay. It is not yet known how much this pay will be;
  • The rights cannot be contracted out of and any agreement purporting to do so will be void. 

It is expected that the regulations will be introduced, bringing the Act fully into force, by April 2020. 

Currently, the only statutory right to bereavement leave is where it falls under the right to have reasonable time off work to deal with an emergency involving a dependent. This is unpaid unless an employer offers any pay under its own compassionate leave policy.

This has been felt to be completely inadequate by campaigners who have pushed for this new law which will give grieving parents two weeks of paid time off. 

Simon deMaid is employment partner at Howes Percival in Milton keynes


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