UK introduces new parental bereavement leave from April 2020

It is something that is difficult for any parent to contemplate but, should they experience the loss of a child, what provision is there for them to take time off work? Historically there has been no automatic statutory right to leave (paid or otherwise) for grieving parents.  Employers could decide for themselves whether to grant compassionate leave, and many did so. However, from April this year, the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act (the Act) comes into force and introduces a legal minimum level of leave.

Under the Act, bereaved parents will be entitled to two weeks’ leave if they lose a child under the age of 18 or suffer a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy. Employees with 26 weeks’ continuous service will be entitled to these two weeks paid at the statutory rate, while those under this threshold will be entitled to unpaid leave.

Parents will be able to take the leave as either a single block of two weeks or as two separate blocks of one week, in either case within a year of their child’s death.

The Act also extends this right to those with parental responsibility, such as adoptive parents and legal guardians.

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Tom Fancett

About Tom Fancett

Tom has experience acting for both employers and employees, advising on the full spectrum of contentious and non-contentious matters. His experience includes advising on large commercial transactions, including redundancy and TUPE issues; undertaking buy side and sell side due diligence exercises into the employment aspects for multiple commercial transactions; coordinating multijurisdictional projects; defending Employment Tribunal claims in relation to unfair dismissal, disability and sex discrimination and whistleblowing; advising on day-to-day HR and disciplinary issues; drafting and negotiating settlement and service agreements; and reviewing company handbooks and template employment contracts.

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