Employment Law and Parental Bereavement

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The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018 should come into force in April 2020. It’s been a long time in the planning. Regulations as to the detailed operation of the Act are awaited but the government’s consultation response provides a good idea of how it will work.

Employed bereaved parents of a child under 18 (including a child that is stillborn after 24 weeks of pregnancy) will be entitled to two weeks leave, as a day one right. They will qualify for statutory bereavement pay if they have 26 weeks’ service and earn more than the lower earnings limit. A child’s biological or adoptive parents qualify for leave as will others who have a primary caring responsibility for a child or who are substantially acting as a child’s parents (for example foster carers).

Employees can take leave flexibly, either as a single week, a single block of two weeks or two single periods of a week. Parents will have up to 56 weeks from the date of a child’s death to take leave, allowing them to take it when they need it most. Notice requirements will also be flexible, with no notice required to take leave shortly after a child’s death. 

Employees will need to give at least one week’s notice to take leave at a later date. Parents will have to provide a written declaration of entitlement to leave only if an employer asks for one, but will have to provide a written declaration of eligibility for parental bereavement pay in order to qualify.

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