New Parental Bereavement Leave legislation to come into effect on 6 April 2020.
On 23 January 2020 the government published two statutory instruments that will provide parents with the right of two weeks of paid bereavement leave upon the death of a child aged 18 or younger. This article will explain how this implementation will affect the workplace in practice.
What is the legislation?
The Parental Bereavement Leave Regulations 2020 will implement a parents right to two weeks’ leave if they have a child who dies and is aged 18 or younger. This legislation will also extend to parents to be who give birth to a stillborn baby after 24 weeks of pregnancy. The Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay (General) Regulations 2020 will provide the statutory framework that will entitle those who use parental bereavement leave to be paid during this time. Parents will receive the lesser of the following:
- £151.20 per week; or
- 90% of their normal weekly earnings.
This is on the basis that they have been employed for at least 26 weeks.
Who is entitled to parental bereavement leave?
The legislation sets out exactly who is entitled to take such leave. It states that all those with parental responsibility for a child who dies, will be entitled the statutory two weeks bereavement leave. This includes the biological parents, foster parents, adopters and partners of the parents.
What are the options for taking parental bereavement leave?
The new legislation allows for up to two weeks leave but these weeks need not be taken consecutively. This allows parents to separate their entitlement into two blocks, of a week each, so it can be taken as and when they need them most. However, the entitlement to leave must be used within a 56-week period commencing on the date of the child’s death.
When does an employee have to inform their employer they wish to take parental bereavement leave?
The new legislation sets out two different periods of notice the employee must give.
- For leave within the first 56 days after the child’s death the employee is required to give notice either before the start of the first day of leave or as soon as reasonably practical. This is no doubt to allow employees to take leave without the worry of giving set notice to their employer when dealing with the immediate aftermath of the death of a child.
- For leave taken after 56 days following the child’s death the employee must give one weeks’ notice to the employer.
What if more than one child dies?
In the extremely unfortunate circumstances where more than one child dies parents are entitled to two weeks paid leave per child.
Can an employee be dismissed for using their entitlement for parental bereavement leave?
No. Regulation 13 makes it clear that if an employee is dismissed, solely or partly, due to the fact they have used their parental bereavement leave entitlement or attempted to use their leave entitlement then this will be found to be an unfair dismissal.
This legislation will come into effect on 6 April 2020 and with this date fast approaching both employees and employers should be fully aware of the rights and application of this law in practice. Employers are advised to consider updating any bereavement policies or procedures they may have.
GA Solicitors has a dedicated employment department who can provide advice and assistance on the new legislation and on updating bereavement rules and policies. If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in this article and/or require assistance in updating any bereavement rules please do not hesitate to contact Rob Zacal on 01752 513549 or firstname.lastname@example.org