On 13 October 2017, the Government published the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Bill (the Bill) which will entitle parents who have lost a child under the age of 18 to two weeks’ paid leave.
Currently, under the Employment Rights Act, employees have day-one rights to take “reasonable” unpaid time off to deal with an emergency involving a dependent. Whilst employers are expected to show compassion in the face of grieving employees, there is no legal requirement to allow for paid leave. The Bill, introduced by Kevin Hollinrake MP, will ensure parents who lose children will have the right to time away from the workplace to grieve.
Employees who have a minimum of 26 weeks’ continuous service will be entitled to statutory parental bereavement pay. Depending on their size, employers will be able to recover some or all of the costs of the payment from the Government.
Business minister, Margot James, said: “We want parents to feel properly supported by their employer when they go through the deeply distressing ordeal of losing a child. That’s why Government is backing this bill which goes significantly further than most other countries in providing this kind of workplace right for employees.”
The Bill’s second reading takes place on 20 October, with the aim that it will formally become law in 2020.
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