New Law New bereavement leave and pay announced The Government has announced a new entitlement to statutory parental bereavement leave and pay for employees who lose a child under the age of 18. This was part of the Conservative Party’s manifesto for the general election which took place earlier this year. Currently, bereaved parents have a day-one right to take a “reasonable” amount of leave to deal with an emergency involving a dependant, including making arrangements following the death of a child. Any such leave is however unpaid. The Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill was published on 13th October. The Bill will give employees: a day-one right to two weeks’ parental bereavement leave. The details will be set out in regulations which are yet to be published, but the Bill suggests that parental bereavement leave will attract similar rights during leave and on return to work as currently apply to other types of family leave; and Whistleblowing: J worked within the employer’s sales division, to promote the use of mail by businesses engaged in marketing. J informed her line manager (W) that she suspected some of her colleagues had breached the employer’s rules on providing discounts to customers. W responded by questioning J’s understanding of the rules, and (at his request) she retracted her allegations. W then began criticising J’s performance, imposing strict targets and requirements for improvement, in a way which J attributed to her earlier allegations. J was later signed off sick and she raised a formal grievance. Claim: J claimed automatic unfair dismissal and detrimental treatment on grounds of whistleblowing. The Tribunal upheld J’s detriment claim, finding that she had been bullied, harassed and intimidated by W on the ground that she had made protected disclosures. The Tribunal however rejected J’s unfair dismissal claim, on the basis that it could only consider V’s knowledge and motivation for the dismissal. Since V had had a genuine and reasonable belief that J should be dismissed for poor performance (albeit based on partial and misleading evidence from W), the unfair dismissal claim failed. The EAT a right to parental bereavement pay, if they have a minimum of 26 weeks’ continuous service. Again, the details (including the rate of pay) will be set out in regulations which are yet to be published. We will report further as the Bill progresses and its associated regulations are published. Employers are likely to have a long lead-time to prepare for the change however, as the Government intends for the Bill to become law in 2020. Cases Round-up Whistleblowing: when is the employer liable? In a whistleblowing claim, the employer will be liable for automatic unfair dismissal if the whistleblowing is the sole or principal reason for the dismissal. If the decision maker has no knowledge of the whistleblowing, this will make it difficult to establish that the employer is liable. However, if another employee is motivated by the whistleblowing to orchestrate the dismissal, the employer may be vicariously liable for their actions, as demonstrated by a recent judgment of the Court of Appeal (Royal Mail Ltd v Jhuti). Dismissal: An investigating officer (V) was appointed to review J’s future with the company (but not her grievance). V was not initially told about J's disclosures, but when she asked J to comment on the possibility of termination of her employment, J referred to her previous allegations. When V raised this with W, he stated that J’s concerns were based on a misunderstanding of the process, and gave V a copy of J’s email retracting her allegations in support of this. V therefore accepted that this issue was appropriately dealt with. V concluded that J’s performance was unsatisfactory, and she was dismissed on three months’ notice. J’s appeal and grievance were not upheld.