Parental Bereavement Leave – coming April 6th 2020

The new Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Act 2018 (also known as Jack’s Law) received Royal Assent in September 2018 and will become law on 6th April 2020.Parental Bereavement Leave

What does this mean?

It will be a new entitlement for bereaved parents of a child, to allow them to be absent from work with pay for up to 2 weeks.

Full details are yet to be set out in Regulations, but from the final version of the Act and the Government’s response to its public Consultation, it is likely to be the case that the new rights will be as follows (we’ll update this when the Regulations are published):

  • Statutory Parental Bereavement Leave will be available to all employees who are ‘bereaved parents’ (which means they were the primary carer for a child who has died under the age of 18).
  • Leave will be available for all employees from Day 1 (there is no minimum service needed).
  • Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay will be available to employee’s with 26 weeks continuous employment with their employer (at the week before the week in which the child dies; as long as they are still be employed by the employer on the day on which their child dies) and where their normal weekly earnings in the 8 weeks up to the week before the child’s death are not less than the lower earnings limit for National Insurance contributions purposes.
  • This entitlement will also be available to adults with parental responsibilities for children, who are not their birth parents, i.e for adoptive parents, those who are fostering to adopt, legal guardians and most foster parents (except those in short-term fostering arrangements).
  • It also applies to parents who have suffered a stillbirth 24 weeks or more into pregnancy.
  • Where more than one child dies, the parent will have a statutory entitlement to leave and pay in respect of each child.
  • The leave must be taken in units of 1 week (it cannot be taken as individual days) – so it can be taken as a single block of 2 weeks, or 2 separate blocks of 1 week at different times.
  • The leave can be taken at any time up to 56 weeks from the date of the death of the child.  (This timescale is deliberate as, for example, it would allow an employee to take leave at the first anniversary of the child’s death; and the bereavement leave can be added onto to the end of a 52 week maternity leave).
  • Bereavement leave can be taken straight away after the death of the child, and they will not have to give notice to their employer to take the leave. (They will have to let their employer know the reason for their absence from work and say they wish to take bereavement leave).  If this leave is not taken straight away (or all of it is not taken straight away), then employee’s will be required to give 1 week’s notice to their employer that they will be taking this leave – however at what point after the child’s death this notice will be required to be given has not yet been confirmed by the Government.
  • Will bereaved parents be required to provide evidence they are entitled to take the leave? The most an employee will be required to provide is a written declaration as evidence they are entitled to take the leave – they will not be required, for example, to provide a copy of the child’s death certificate or a note from the child’s doctor.  This written declaration will not be required during the initial period after the child’s death, and the Government has not yet decided whether this written declaration needs to be provided for leave after the initial period.
  • Bereaved parents will be required to provide a written declaration confirming that they meet the eligibility requirements to receive Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay (see above).  This will need to be provided within a reasonable timescale (tbc).
  • Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay is likely to be paid at the same rate as Maternity/Paternity/Shared Parental Pay, which is currently £148.88 per week (from April 2019).
  • It is believed that small firms would be able to reclaim the full cost from the government, with larger firms being able to reclaim approximately 92%.
  • This will only apply in England, Wales and Scotland initially (not Northern Ireland).
  • The employee’s Employment rights will be maintained before and after the leave.
  • The employee must not suffer detriment or discrimination for taking the statutory entitlement.
  • The Government is encouraging Employees to take this statutory right further and provide employees with more than 2 weeks leave; and/or offer full pay for some or all of their absence.
  • This entitlement is separate to the statutory right to take time off to deal with an emergency.

Any questions please let me know!  We’ll update this as things become clearer when the Regulations are published.

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One Comment to "Parental Bereavement Leave – coming April 6th 2020"

  1. […] You can read our January 2020 update about the legislation here. […]

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