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Statutory Parental Bereavement Leave

Statutory Parental Bereavement Leave will come into force on 6 April 2020 – are you ready for the change?

Losing a baby or child is a devastating experience, therefore in order to provide parents and primary carers with greater support during these difficult period, the new Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Act 2018 gives parents and primary carers the entitlement to time off work following the death of a child. This includes adopters, foster parents and guardians, as well as more informal groups such close relatives or family friends who have taken responsibility for the child’s care in the absence of parents.

The legislation will come into force on 6 April 2020.

The entitlement

Parents or carers will be entitled to at least two weeks’ leave following the loss of a child under the age of 18 or a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy. This will be a day one right for employees therefore there will be no minimum service requirement in order to qualify for the time off.

Leave can either be taken in one block or in two separate blocks of one week. It can be taken within a 56 week window from the child’s death, to allow time off for moments where parents and carers feel that they will need the time off the most, such as the first anniversary of the child’s death. Parents/carers will not need to provide the employer with a death certificate as evidence.

Statutory parental bereavement pay (SPBP)

Employees with 26 weeks’ continuous service at the time of the child’s death will receive paid leave at the statutory rate (which will be the same at statutory maternity/paternity pay etc) at the relevant time and other staff will be entitled to unpaid leave. Unless of course you decide to have a discretionary policy on this where you may for example decide to provide full pay to employees during this period which can be worded into the relevant policy.

Prepare for the change

Many employers already provide bereavement leave for a range of circumstances but it is certainly not a legal requirement at present and is often informal.

Please ensure that you review any family friendly or compassionate leave policies that you may have in order to ensure that they are updated to cover this new piece of legislation, which Clover HR can support you with.

By way of practical steps, any employee who has had time off following the death of a child, family member or close friend must be handled sensitively, however each case will be different as people do grieve in different ways. Some employees may require more support than others, therefore consider making a support network available, or consider a phased return back into work along with amended duties for a short period of time. If you have an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) in place, encourage the employee to utilise this for third party support.

For more advice on entitlements and practical support that you can offer to an employee during these difficult periods, please contact Clover HR on 0121 516 0299 or email us at info@cloverhr.co.uk


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