New leave and pay entitlements to support bereaved parents

New leave and pay entitlements to support bereaved parents

New workplace rules are being introduced which entitle parents who lose a child under 18 years of age to paid bereavement leave. The right also extends to parents who lose a child after 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Royal assent was given to the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act in September last year, and the fine details are currently being worked out in order for it to be presented to parliament. The act is set to come into force in 2020.

The act states that two weeks of leave will be given to employed parents who lose a child as a ‘day-one’ right.

If a bereaved parent has been at that place of work for at least 26 weeks and earns more than the Lower Earnings Limit, this leave will be paid at a flat rate of £145.18 per week. If this is more than the average earnings of the employee, they are paid 90 per cent of their average wage.

It is not necessarily only parents that are entitled to the bereavement leave and pay in the new act. As long as the employee is the child’s legal guardian or primary carer, they too will be entitled to time off with pay.

Parents deemed eligible will be allowed to take the two weeks’ leave and pay altogether or choose to split it into two one-week blocks. They will be allowed to do this within a 56-week window from the date of bereavement, allowing them to choose to take the leave when they need it most, throughout this time.

If leave is taken within a short time of the child’s death, the employee does not need to provide notice before taking it, although they will need to inform their employer of their absence. Notice will, however, need to be given for pay, to allow employers time to process requests.

If you require any more information or advice regarding the new bereavement leave rules, please contact us.