Government publishes Parental Leave Bill

On the 13th October, the UK Government published a bill offering parents 2 weeks paid leave should they suffer the loss of a child.

The Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill was introduced by Kevin Hollinrake, MP and offers a day-one right to bereavement leave for any employed parent who loses a child under the age of 18.

In order to be eligible for statutory bereavement pay the bill states that employees will be required to have served a minimum of 26 weeks continuous service with their employer.

The bill is set to receive a second reading in Parliament this week, with the aim of it becoming law in 2020.

“We want parents to feel properly supported by their employer when they go through this deeply distressing ordeal of losing a child. That’s why the Government is backing this bill which goes significantly further than most countries in providing this kind of workplace right for employees” said Margot James, Business Minister.

Kevin Hollinrake added further: “Sadly I have had constitutes who have gone through this dreadful experience and while some parents prefer to carry on working, others need time off. This new law will give employed parents a legal right to two weeks paid leave, giving them that all important time and space away from work to grieve at such a desperately sad time.”

The head of Public Policy of the CIPD, Ben Willmott, said: “Our research shows many employers already offer their staff paid bereavement leave. This new law will build on this, so all bereaved parents of children under the age of 18 will have the reassurance of knowing they don’t have to worry while they grieve for loved ones in the immediate aftermath of such a tragedy.”

At present, there is currently no legal requirement for employers to pay employees who take time off to grieve, although a majority of employers do. The Employment Rights Act provides that employees have a day-one right to a “reasonable” amount of unpaid work in the event of an emergency involving a dependent. This includes making arrangements after the death of a dependent.

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