New bereavement leave to be extended to all primary carers of children



New legislation on bereavement pay and leave has been extended beyond parents to all primary carers of children, including adopters, foster parents and guardians.

The Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Act, which is due to come into force in 2020, will also cover more informal groups such as kinship carers, who may be a close relative or family friend and have assumed responsibility for the care of the child in the absence of the parents.

It ensures bereaved employees who lose a child under 18 will receive two weeks’ leave as a day-one right. Eligible employees will also receive two weeks statutory pay.

Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst, said: “Dealing with the loss of a child is an awful tragedy which we recognise people will deal with differently.

“It is important this new law is designed so that people are given the space and respect to grieve in their own way.”

Following feedback from parents and employers, the government has just published its response to the public consultation and announced further details about how the new right will work:

  • leave can be taken either in one block (of one or two weeks) or as two separate blocks of one week
  • leave and pay can be taken within a 56-week window from the child’s death so as to allow time for important moments such as anniversaries
  • notice requirements will be flexible so that leave can be taken without prior notice very soon after the child’s death
  • employers will not be entitled to request a copy of death certificate to use as evidence

Lucy Herd from Jack’s Rainbow said: “This is a great start and not having to produce a death certificate to prove that you have lost a child will have a huge positive impact on the grieving process for a parent. I would like to see an adjustment in the way this leave can be taken, but hope this can be looked at in the future.”

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