On 13 October 2017, the government published the Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill. This will offer two weeks’ paid leave to any employed parent who loses a child under the age of 18. Every employee will be eligible for this right, irrespective of their length of service.
In addition, employed parents with at least 26 weeks’ continuous service will also be eligible to receive statutory parental bereavement pay. Employers will be able to reclaim some or all of this cost from the government.
While, generally, it is expected that employers will act in a compassionate and flexible manner in response to these difficult circumstances, there currently is no legal requirement to offer grieving parents paid time off work. This bill will create a legal entitlement for parents and will go significantly further than most other countries by extending parental leave to not only the birth, but also the loss, of a child.
The bill will have its second reading in Parliament on 20 October 2017 with a view to becoming law in 2020.