Paid bereavement leave available for the first time

Posted on July 24, 2018

Today, the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay Bill) has become law, this means that parents whose baby or child sadly dies, or who is stillborn will be entitled to paid leave from work for the first time.

The Bill sets out that employed parents will be able to take two weeks leave paid at the statutory rate if their child dies. Some of the finer details of how the Law will work in practice – such as how long parents will have to take their leave – are still to be agreed.

Caroline Lee-Davey, Chief Executive of Bliss said, ‘’Losing a baby or child is the most devastating event that can happen to any parent. It is therefore vital that parents have all the help and support they need if they experience such a tragic loss.

“We are therefore very pleased that the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Bill has become law today. For the first time, employed parents whose baby or child sadly dies, or whose baby is stillborn, will have the right to take two weeks’ bereavement leave, paid at the statutory rate. This will help to ensure that there is minimum provision in place for employed parents so they can take paid time away from work at the most difficult time of their lives.

“We commend the Government and MPs who have come together from all sides of the House and worked in collaboration to introduce this important legislation. However, the Government is still to decide how the Bill will work in practice, including how long parents will have to use their leave, how flexibly they can take their leave, and the process for accessing the entitlement. Bliss urges the Government to build on today’s positive news by ensuring parents have the maximum flexibility and setting relevant processes out sensitively so as many eligible parents as possible can fully benefit from this new law.

‘’Additionally, while this is a positive step in the right direction we would like the Government to consider how the remit of this new law can be extended in the future to make sure that parents who are self-employed, and working parents who do not meet the current eligibility criteria, can also access this support. We would also encourage the Government to continue to support the provision of holistic bereavement care for parents who lose a child, such as that described in the National Bereavement Care Pathway for Pregnancy and Baby Loss, to ensure all their needs are met at this difficult time”.

We understand that the statutory entitlement will not be in place until April 2020, we would encourage employers to take steps to provide paid parental bereavement leave in advance of the legislation coming into force

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