Parental bereavement leave to become law in April 2020

Rights for Bereaved parents

As of 6 April 2020 a new parental bereavement law will come into force for parents who suffer the devastating loss of a child.  The law – also known as Jack’s Law – gives all working parents an entitlement of up to two weeks leave in the event of the death of a child and qualifying parents also have the right to receive statutory bereavement pay.

What does this mean for you as an employer? Let’s take a look.

The right to leave

Under the new rules, all working parents will be entitled to up to two weeks’ bereavement leave in the event of the death of a child under the age of 18 or if they suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy. This will be a day one right, which means all employees, irrespective of how long they have worked for their employer, will have this right from the very beginning.

Parental bereavement leave can be taken either as a single block of two weeks or as two separate blocks of one week, taken at different times, and can only be taken within 56 weeks of the child’s death.

The parent taking the leave must have had responsibility for the upbringing of the child, or be the biological parent of the child, or be married to or be the partner of the child’s mother or father.

The right to pay

Parents with at least 26 weeks’ continuous service with their employer and weekly average earnings over the lower earnings limit (£118 for 2019/2020) will also be entitled to Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay (SPBP). This is currently £148.68 per week for 2019/20 (although we assume an increase will be announced by the time the law comes into force) or 90% of average weekly earnings where this is lower.

There are notice provisions, although these have been drafted with the understanding that this may not always be practicable at such a difficult time. In order to take parental bereavement leave, the employee should give the company notice of:

  • the date of death
  • the date the bereavement leave will start
  • how long the leave will be

Where an employee wishes to take parental bereavement leave within eight weeks of their child’s death, they should give notice before the leave starts or, where this is not reasonably practicable, as soon as is reasonably practicable.

If an employee wishes to subsequently cancel a week’s parental bereavement leave, they should give notice to the company before the start of the working week in which they plan to return.

If an employee wishes to take their leave following eight weeks but before 56 weeks of their child’s death, notice should be given at least one week before the start of the leave. Such leave can also be cancelled by giving at least one week’s notice before the start of that week.

Any questions?

If you’re wondering how this new law will affect you as an employer when it comes into force in April, remember that if you’re a Citation client, you can call us 24/7, 365 days a year on our advice line on 0345 844 4848.

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