The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018 received Royal Assent in September 2018.
The Act entitles bereaved parents to at least two weeks’ leave following the loss of a child under the age of 18 or if they suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy.
It is proposed that for those employees who have a minimum of 26 weeks’ continuous service will be eligible for statutory parental bereavement pay. It is further proposed that this rate of pay will be the same as statutory paternity and shared parental pay (which is currently the lower of £145.18 or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings per week).
Employees who take this leave will be entitled to protection from dismissal or suffering a detriment, in accordance with other forms of family leave.
Supporting regulations with full details of the Act are expected to be published in due course which will include finer detail on the definition of a bereaved parent, how and when to take such leave and notice and evidential requirements.
What steps do employers need to take?
Given that the Act is not expected to come into force until April 2020, our advice would be to wait until the Regulations are published before any policies are updated.
Until then, employees will still have the right to unpaid time off to deal with an emergency or paid time off under the employer’s compassionate leave policy. It is likely that parents who have suffered such a great loss will require more than a few days off and are therefore likely to take a period of sick leave.
For advice on any of the above matters, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Langleys Employment Team.