The Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill now allows parents paid leave after suffering the loss of a child
Date: January 23, 2018 by IDU
The Parental Bereavement Leave (Statutory Entitlement) Bill 2016-17 was mooted last year to allow for the introduction of specific statutory rights in the area of bereavement leave for parents, as opposed to employees simply relying on the existing statutory right to take a ‘reasonable’ period of time off to deal with an emergency.
The Bill has now been introduced to Parliament and does indeed make provision for statutory entitlement to leave of absence (at least two weeks) from employment for bereaved parents, allowing them a period of time to grieve for a deceased child and support the other parent or parents.
This new proposal also confirms that the rate of pay payable will be similar to the statutory rate for maternity, adoption, paternity and shared parental pay, i.e. at a rate not less than 90 per cent of the employee’s average earnings, or £139.58 per week (as it was from April 2016), whichever is the lower.
Meanwhile some best practice guidance has been issued to employers. Every bereavement, but especially that of a child, will impact different people in different ways and to different degrees. Employers, if they haven’t done so already, should consider putting in place a specific bereavement policy and ensure that managers and HR teams are trained to be able to deal with these sensitive issues in a compassionate manner. ACAS has also provided guidance in the area of bereavement in the workplace which can be found here.
These proposals will be considered again by Parliament in Autumn 2017, when the Bill receives its Second Reading. Between now and then, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has confirmed that it will work with employers, employee representative and campaigners on behalf of working families to better understand the needs of bereaved parents and employers. New laws are not expected until 2018 at the earliest.