Government Set to Pass Bill Entitling Bereaved Parents to Leave and Pay
A recent bill looks set to entitle bereaved parents to statutory leave and pay for the first time.
As things currently stand, employers are expected to be understanding and considerate towards parents who have lost a child however there is no legal protection or entitlement to leave or pay for bereavement. Accordingly, some bereaved parents are left without recourse with any bite.
The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Bill which was published on 13 October 2017 is a private members bill but is backed by the government and therefore looks likely to become law. If it becomes law, the Act would amend current legislation to mean that the Secretary of State would have the power to give employees who lose a child under the age of 18 (including a still birth after 24 weeks of pregnancy) the following:-
- Leave of at least 2 weeks for any child who has passed away. This will be irrespective of length of service and will not prejudice any existing rights to leave (e.g. parental/maternity);
- Pay for bereaved employees with at least 26 weeks’ service. Pay will be the lower of either 90% of average earnings or at the prescribed rate.
- Statutory protection from any detriment, dismissal or redundancy as a result of bereavement leave.
Bereavement payments made by employers will be recoverable from the government.
The second reading of the bill took place on 20 October with the bill now set to progress to committee stage. If all the legislative stages are completed, regulations are expected to be introduced in 2020.
This bulletin is for general guidance purposes only and should not be used for any other purpose.
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