News | September 19, 2018

Update: Bereavement Leave for Parents

The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018 has now received Royal Assent.

The Act, expected to come into force in 2020, will provide all employees with a statutory right from day one of their employment to two weeks’  leave where a child of theirs under the age of 18 passes away. This includes parents who suffer a stillbirth after 24 weeks pregnancy. The Act also enables parents to claim statutory parental bereavement pay for this period of leave, subject to them fulfilling certain eligibility criteria.

Under the current law, employees are limited to the right to “reasonable” unpaid leave in emergency situations involving close family members and an employer’s discretion to grant paid or unpaid compassionate leave.  The new legislation removes this uncertainty and entitles eligible parents to a statutory minimum of two weeks’ paid time off. Where a parent loses more than one child, the law will enable them to take two weeks’ paid leave for each child that has died. It has also been confirmed that those on maternity/paternity leave when a child dies would be able to take the leave in addition to their existing time off.

The final text of the Act has not yet been published and additional regulations will be released between now and 2020 which will detail further exactly how this leave must be taken. However, it is hoped that the changes will transform how grief is currently acknowledged in the workplace and additionally improve existing support provided to grieving parents.  We will provide further updates as they are released.