The government has published the statutory instruments which implement two weeks’ paid leave for parents upon the death of a child aged under 18. The regulations are The Parental Bereavement Leave Regulations 2020 and The Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay (General) Regulations 2020.
Both of these Regulations come into force on 6 April 2020 and allow a parent to take either one or two weeks’ paid leave. Currently employees have a right to take a reasonable amount of unpaid time off work in these circumstances. However, what is reasonable depends on the circumstances and Employment Appeal Tribunal guidance was provided that suggested one or two days leave would be regarded as reasonable.
Under The Parental Bereavement Leave Regulations 2020, an employee will be entitled to parental bereavement leave if he or she is:
- the parent;
- intended parent;
- adoptive parent;
- natural parent; or
- the partner of the parent.
Meaning that the Regulations could apply to a wide range of people. The Regulation provides a minimum period of one weeks leave, however employees are entitled to take up to two weeks leave, but these do not need to be consecutive weeks. In addition to this, parental bereavement leave may be taken at any time within the period of 56 weeks with the date of the child’s death.
Under The Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay (General) Regulations 2020, employees who are entitled to parental bereavement leave are also entitled to statutory parental bereavement pay of two weeks. As with the parental bereavement leave, statutory parental bereavement pay can be paid at any time in the period of 56 weeks beginning with the date of the child’s death. The weekly payment of statutory parental bereavement pay is the smaller amount of:
- £151.20; or
- 90% of the normal weekly earnings of the employee claiming statutory bereavement pay.
The entitlement to parental bereavement leave and pay will also apply to parents who suffer a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy and ‘parents’ must have been employed for a continuous period of at least 26 weeks before the child’s death to be eligible for paid parental bereavement leave.
As an employer you may already have a bereavement policy in place for when this situation arises, but whether you do or you do not, a new policy will need to be implemented to reflect the changes in the law. At FTA Law we can advise you on how to address this difficult situation, and draft a policy on parental bereavement leave to be inserted into your Staff Handbook. Please contact us on 0330 088 2275 or [email protected] for further information.
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