The Government is introducing the right to parental bereavement leave and pay and the new rights are expected to come into force on 6 April 2020.
At a glance
- The new right to leave will mean that an employee who loses a child under the age of 18 or suffers a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy, will be entitled to 2 weeks’ statutory leave to be taken in one block or as two separate blocks of a week.
- The leave will be paid for employees who have at least 26 weeks’ service and who meet the minimum earnings criteria.
- Statutory parental bereavement pay will be paid at the same rate as statutory paternity pay i.e. £151.20 per week (from April 2020) or 90% of weekly earnings if lower.
The Parental Bereavement Leave Regulations 2020 will introduce the right to leave, while the Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay (General) Regulations 2020 will govern the right to pay during such leave. The new rights will come into force with effect from 6 April 2020.
- Eligibility to take parental bereavement leave is wide, including:
- A child’s legal parents (whether natural or adoptive);
- Natural parents who have lost their legal status as parents following an adoption or parental order but still have a contact order in their favour;
- Adoptive and surrogate parents before a formal adoption or parental order is made once the child is born or placed with them for adoption; and
- If the child has been living with them and they have had day to day responsibility for at least 4 weeks.
The minimum period of parental bereavement leave which may be taken by an employee is 1 week and the maximum is 2 weeks. Where an employee choses to take 2 weeks they do not need to be consecutive and may be taken at any time within the period of 56 weeks beginning with the date of the Child’s death.
An employee must give notice to their employee of their intention to take parental bereavement leave specifying:
- The date of the child’s death;
- The date on which the employee choses any period of absence to begin; and
- Whether they are intending to take 1 week or 2;
As well as complying with the specific notice requirements set out in the regulations.
An employee does not need to provide notice in writing to his or her employer, but the length of notice required to book and cancel parental bereavement leave will vary depending on whether the period the employee intends to take as parental bereavement leave falls within the first 56 days of the child’s death or later.
Where an employee is entitled to parental bereavement leave as the result of the death of more than one child, the employee is also entitled to parental bereavement leave in respect of each child.
Finally, an employee is also entitled during their leave to the benefit of all of their terms and conditions of employment apart from the right to the same remuneration. They are also protected from detriment and dismissal attributable to the fact that they took or sought to take parental bereavement leave.
Hannah Pryce comments:
Whilst many employers are already providing support to their employees who face this difficult situation, the Government has taken action to ensure that a minimum level of bereavement leave is available to all employees. Employers will therefore need to understand how the new rights will operated and modify or implement relevant HR policies before April.
If you would like any further guidance on how to prepare for this new change, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of the team.
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