On 13 September 2018, the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Bill received Royal Assent and became an Act of Parliament. We can expect to see the increased statutory rights for bereaved parents coming into force in 2020.
Under existing UK legislation, bereaved parents are not entitled to paid leave following the death of a child. Previously some employers have offered paid bereavement leave at their discretion, however many bereaved parents have been forced to cope without.
What rights does the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018 create?
- All employed parents will have a right to 2 weeks’ paid leave upon the death of a child beneath the age of 18.
- The right will extend to:
- parents who suffer a stillbirth after the 24th week of pregnancy;
- adopted parents;
- foster parents; and
- those who have assumed primary care of a child in the absence of the child's parents.
- The leave can be taken as two separate one-week periods, if required.
Are you equipped to deal with parental bereavement in the workplace?
The death of a child is one of the most painful things that a person can experience during their lifetime. Paid leave is undoubtedly a positive development for bereaved parents, but why not go further?
Although we will have to wait until 2020 to feel the effects of the legislative development, employers can be prepared and think about adopting robust and supportive policies for bereaved parents.
Ensure that you are equipped to provide both practical solutions and emotional support within the workplace. It is advisable to offer a phased return to work, with flexible working options. Additionally we recommend exploring health benefit schemes that will provide bereavement counselling, or set aside a contingency fund to enable you to offer financial support for such services.
It is no secret that prioritising the wellbeing of your employees is central to the success of your business.