Parental Bereavement Leave - New Law From 6 April 2020

Parental Bereavement Leave - New Law From 6 April 2020

Written by Suzanne Gordon-Brown on 27-Jan-20

Parental Bereavement Leave
 Losing someone you love is never easy especially if it is your child. Sadly, bereavement is something that will affect all of us at some time in our lives. In fact, research suggests that 1 in 10 employees are likely to be affected by the death of a loved one at any given point.

In light of the above with effect from 6th April 2020 the Government will introduce Parental Bereavement Leave which allows the right to two weeks paid leave for employed parents who lose a child under the age of 18. This law will be one of the most generous allowances for bereaved parents in the world.


KEY REFERENCE POINTS

What is Parental Bereavement Leave?
Parental Bereavement Leave (also known as compassionate leave) is an agreed upon time off of work an employee will take following the death of their child. The time allows individuals to make funeral arrangements, complete difficult tasks, and begin the grieving process.


Am I entitled to Parental Bereavement Leave?
Under the new Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act, employees who have been employed for at least 26 weeks will be entitled to bereavement leave.
As well as birth parents, the entitlement will be available to adults with parental responsibility, for example: adoptive parents, individuals who are fostering to adopt, legal guardians; and many foster parents, although emergency foster care may not be covered.


How much time off can I take?
This new Act gives a statutory right to a minimum of two weeks’ leave for all employed parents if they lose a child under the age of 18, or have a stillbirth from the 24th week of pregnancy. The right will exist irrespective of how long they have worked for their employer.


Will I get paid?
Parents with at least 26 weeks’ continuous service and weekly average earnings over the lower earning limit (£118 per week for 2019/20) will also be entitled to statutory parental bereavement pay (SPBP), paid at the rate of £148.68 per week (for 2019/20), or 90% of average weekly earnings if this is lower.


Will my Parental Bereavement Leave run out?
Bereavement leave of 2 weeks is completely separate to other types of leave (e.g. time off sick, annual leave), and doesn’t accumulate or formally ‘run out’.

Every bereavement is difficult, and will affect people differently, and as such employees should not be made to feel guilty or pressured to return back to work sooner than they are ready to do so.It is also worth remembering that employers should be mindful that different religions have their own bereavement traditions and funeral rites that must be followed. Refusing to allow an employee to observe their beliefs and customs could amount to religious discrimination.

You should speak to your employer if you feel that you need longer time off to grieve as they will have a vested interest in you, your mental health and overall wellbeing, and will want you to return back to work at the right time.

Finally, from an employer’s perspective I would suggested that you create a clear policy in relation to Parental Bereavement Leave which highlights the key points to avoid any misunderstanding and will show best practice. Should you require any assistance with this or require any further information do not hesitate to contact Suzanne Gordon-Brown, SGH HR Services on  075 5296 4446.

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