Further to my previous article on Parental Bereavement Leave on 16th October 2017, the government has now approved the Bill that provides employees a right to paid time off (Parental Bereavement Leave) on the death of their child. The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018 received Royal Assent on the 13th September 2018 and it is anticipated that it will come into force in April 2020, together with supporting regulations.
For the first time, bereavement leave and pay will be available to parents who suffer the loss of a child under the age of 18. The Act allows for employed parents to take a minimum of 2 weeks’ paid leave during the first 8 weeks following the death of their child.
Whilst many employers will undoubtably show compassion towards their employees during such a difficult time, there has been no legal entitlement to paid time off work and employers could refuse to allow it. To overcome this, employees may be forced to take holiday to ensure they were not financially disadvantaged. This new legislation will give parents an entitlement to paid time off work to deal with their loss and grieve privately with their families.
MP, Kevin Hollinrake states:
“This is such an important Bill for parents going through the most terrible of times. There is little any of us can do to help, but at least we can make sure that every employer will give them time to grieve”.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy published a consultation paper on Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay in March 2018 which gives a good indication of what we can expect to see in the regulations. According to the consultation;
- All parents will qualify for a minimum of 2 weeks’ Parental Bereavement Leave, irrespective of how long they have been employed.
- Parents must meet the Lower Earnings Limit (£113 per week) and have been employed for a continuous period of 26 weeks to qualify for Parental Bereavement Pay.
- The Parental Bereavement Pay will be calculated at the statutory flat rate of £145.18 per week or 90% of weekly average earnings, whichever figure is lower.
- The employer is responsible for paying this money to the parents, although it will be able to claim a large portion back from the government.
However, the regulations have not yet been published and are subject to change, so we will have to wait and see what they say.
Once the regulations are published, we will be sure to provide a further update.
If you would like to discuss any of the issues in this case, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Employment team.
This article is not a definitive statement of the law. It is designed as a free update on the law at the time of publishing. It is not a substitute for legal advice on specific facts and circumstances. BakerLaw LLP and/or the writer accepts no liability or responsibility for reliance on this article and recommends that you seek independent legal advice on your specific circumstances prior to taking any steps.