The government has announced that parents will be entitled to bereavement leave from 6 April 2020 (subject to parliamentary approval). Employees who lose a child under the age of 18, or who suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy, will be entitled to two weeks’ leave. This leave can be taken in one block or as two separate weeks. This is a ‘day one’ right, with no need for a period of continuous employment to qualify for it.
Employees who have been employed for at least 26 weeks and whose average earnings exceed the lower earnings limit (currently £118 for 2019/2020) will also qualify for statutory parental bereavement pay (SPBP). SPBP will be calculated in the same way as paternity pay, which is £148.68 for 2019/2020, or 90 per cent of average weekly earnings if that is lower. Although many parents may choose to take this leave immediately after the death of a child, the regulations are likely to give parents up to a year to take this leave.
This right is the most generous in the world in relation to child bereavement, with only a few countries offering any bereavement leave at all. Most employers are already compassionate and flexible when an employee suffers such a devastating loss. The law is simply catching up with good practice.
Find out how we can help. Our partner, Jon Dunkley, heads the Wollens specialist Employment Department. Contact him today for an informal chat, without obligation on 01271 342268 or via email at [email protected].