A Bill presented to Parliament recently promises to give bereaved parents guaranteed paid leave for a minimum of two weeks following the death of a child aged under 18 years old.
Conservative MP, Kevin Hollinrake, has introduced the Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill with support from the Government. The plans will now be considered by Parliament and it is anticipated that they will enter into law in 2020.
Under the plans, employees will be entitled to leave from their first day in employment, while those with 26 weeks or more continuous service will be entitled to statutory parental bereavement pay.
Hayley Trovato, a Senior Associate at OGR Stock Denton Solicitors, said: “This new law will give all employed parents the right to 2 weeks leave if they lose a child under 18, or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy. Employed parents will also be able to claim to pay for this period, subject to meeting the eligibility criteria.
“There is currently no right for statutory paid time off for parents suffering a bereavement. Currently, under the Employment Rights Act 1996 employees have a right to take a reasonable amount of time off work to deal with an emergency to do with a dependant, this includes making arrangements following the death of a dependant.
“However what is reasonable depends on the circumstances and the practical reality is that the length of time an employee can have off is what can be agreed between the employer and the employee.
“The employer does not need to pay the employee for this time off but many employers do offer paid compassionate leave.
“The loss of a child is the most unimaginable trauma for any parent, this new law recognises this and provides grieving parents with support allowing them time to come to terms with their loss without the fear or pressure of having to return to work too early.”