From 6th April 2020, bereaved parents will be able to take parental bereavement leave of either one or two weeks’ paid leave (the two weeks can be separate) on the loss of a child. The leave is paid at the lower of £151.20 per week or 90% of salary. Parents will be able to take the leave as either a single block of 2 weeks, or as 2 separate blocks of one week each taken at different times across the first year after their child’s death. This means they can match their leave to the times they need it most, which could be in the early days or over the first anniversary.
This legal right to paid parental bereavement leave is called “Jack’s Law” in memory of Jack Herd whose mother Lucy campaigned tirelessly for 10 years on the issue. Lucy’s 23-month-old son Jack, drowned in a pond in 2010 and his father returned to work just three days after his death. Thanks to Lucy Herd, parents who suffer who suffer the devastating loss of a child will be entitled to 2 weeks’ statutory leave.
The Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Regulations and the Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay (General) Regulations 2020 (Jack’s Law) implement a statutory right to a minimum of 2 weeks’ leave for all employed parents if they lose a child under the age of 18, or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy, irrespective of how long they have worked for their employer.
Who Is Entitled to Paid Parental Bereavement Leave?
Parents and primary carers who have suffered the loss of a child under the age of 18.
‘Primary carers’ include adopters, foster parents, guardians and those classed as ‘kinship carers’, who may be close relatives or family friends that have assumed responsibility for looking after a child in the absence of parents
The new entitlement will also apply to parents who suffer a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy. In this instance, female employees will still be entitled to up to 52 weeks of maternity leave and/or pay, as will a mother who loses a child after it is born
Parents and primary carers 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.
All employees have a right to unpaid bereavement leave from the moment they start work.
What Are Employees Entitled to?
Parents and primary carers who have been employed for a continuous period of at least 26 weeks prior to when the child dies, and have received pay above the lower earnings limit for the previous eight weeks, are entitled to at least two weeks’ statutory paid leave.
Workers who have not been employed for a continuous period of at least 26 weeks are entitled to two weeks’ unpaid leave.
The two weeks’ leave can be taken either in one block of two weeks, or as two separate blocks of one week each. It must be taken within 56 weeks of the date of the child’s death.
Notice requirements for taking the leave will be flexible, so it can be taken at short notice.
If an employee loses more than one child, they will be entitled to take a separate period of leave for each child.
Under the Data Protection Act 2018 and GDPR, employee’s have the right to keep details of a child’s death confidential so employers are not allowed to request a copy of the child’s death certificate as evidence of an employee’s right to the entitlement.
Small employers will be able to recover all statutory parental bereavement pay, while larger organisations will be able to reclaim almost all of it
Different religions have their own bereavement traditions and funeral rites that must be followed. An employer who refuses to let an employee observe their beliefs and customs may be liable for religious discrimination.
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Last Updated: [11/09/2021]