A new right to two weeks’ bereavement leave will be laid before Parliament today and is expected to come into effect in April.
The Government has announced that new regulations which will enable parents who have lost a child to take two weeks’ statutory leave will come into effect in April.
The Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Regulations, which will be known as Jack’s Law in memory of Jack Herd whose mother Lucy campaigned on the issue, will implement a statutory right to a minimum of two weeks’ leave for all employed parents if they lose a child under the age of 18, or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy, irrespective of how long they have worked for their employer. Those who have more than 26 weeks’ service with their employer and earn at least £118 per week [this is the 2019/2020 rate] will also be entitled to the leave being paid at the statutory rate, which is currently £148.68 per week or 90% of average weekly earnings where this is lower.
Parents will be able to take the leave as either a single block of two weeks or as two separate blocks of one week each taken at different times across the first year after their child’s death. This means they can match their leave to the times they need it most, which could be in the early days or over the first anniversary.
The Government says around 7,500 child deaths, including around 3,000 stillbirths, occur in the UK every year and estimates that this new entitlement will help to support around 10,000 parents a year.
The right to parental bereavement leave and pay will come into force on 6 April 2020, subject to Parliamentary approval of the legislation being laid today. A government spokesperson said: “The policy mandates that employers pay those eligible at the statutory rate, but we’d strongly urge employers to be even more generous, and pay at their usual rate.”