The Government has announced that from April 2020, parents who suffer the loss of a child under the age of 18, or a stillbirth, will be entitled to two week’s paid leave at the rate of statutory bereavement pay.
The change is expected to help around 10,000 families a year and, according to ministers, will be the most generous parental bereavement pay in the world.
It follows a campaign instigated by Lucy Herd, whose son, Jack, died in an accident aged 23 months. Jack’s father was only allowed three days of work, which included one day to attend his son’s funeral.
Lucy Herd said: “In the immediate aftermath of a child dying, parents have to cope with their own loss, the grief of the wider family, including other children, as well as a vast amount of administrative paperwork and other arrangements. A sudden or accidental death may require a post-mortem or inquest, there is a funeral to arrange and there are many other organisations to contact, from schools to benefit offices.
“When I started this campaign 10 years ago, after the death of my son Jack, I always hoped that a positive change would happen in his memory. Knowing that nearly 10 years of campaigning has helped create Jack’s law is the most wonderful feeling, but it is bittersweet at the same time.”
Business Secretary, Andrea Leadsom MP, said: “There can be few worse experiences in life than the loss of a child and I am proud that this government is delivering Jack’s law, making us the first country in the world to do so. When it takes effect, Jack’s law will be a fitting testament to the tireless efforts of Lucy Herd, alongside many charities, to give parents greater support.”