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Parental Bereavement Leave - What more do we know?

Dec 17th, 2018

You may remember not long ago we wrote an article on The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018. At the time there was little information available which raised questions of who would be defined as a “bereaved parent,” how and when to take such leave and evidential requirements.

Whilst the Regulations are yet to be published, the Government has published its response to a consultation on how the new right should operate in practice.
As we already know, 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 the right to take paid parental bereavement leave will apply to employees who are:-

  • legal parents;
  • not legal parents but in a legally-recognised “parental” relationship with the child i.e. guardian; or
  • acting as the child’s parent i.e. primary carer

Whilst under current legislation employees have the right to take unpaid time off to care for dependants or take compassionate leave, this Act is designed to give parents time off to help cope with the emotional consequence of losing a child or during difficult times i.e. the anniversary of the child’s death.

How can parental bereavement leave be taken?

It is proposed the leave can be taken in one continuous two week block or alternatively, blocks of one week each – much like the current arrangement with paternity leave. Employees will be given 56 weeks to exercise their entitlement to parental bereavement leave.

For any leave which is taken immediately after the bereavement, the employee will not be required to provide any notice but will need to inform their employer that they are exercising their entitlement to take such leave. If leave is taken after the initial bereavement period, employees will be required to provide their employer with at least one week’s notice.

There will be no requirement for employees to provide evidence of their entitlement to parental bereavement leave during the initial bereavement period. However, in order to claim statutory bereavement pay, employees will be required to provide written evidence of their entitlement to receive such pay. The Government has advised that any evidence will be similar to that provided for paternity leave where a written declaration is completed by the employee.

This means employees will not need to give evidence of their relationship to the child or a copy of the death certificate to their employer.

For advice on any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Langleys Employment Team.

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