Further to our article from back in September 2018 on the The Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Act 2018, the Government has just announced in the 2018 Budget that employed parents who lose a child who is under the age of 18 will start receiving 2 weeks paid parental bereavement leave from April 2020.
Paid Parental Bereavement Leave
Employed parents who lose a child under the age of 18 will start receiving 2 weeks paid parental bereavement leave under the new Act from April 2020, to be taken within 56 weeks of the date of death of the child. They will receive what will be known as “statutory parental bereavement pay” during the said 2 weeks. The statutory rate is currently £145.18 per week, and to be eligible to receive the 2 weeks statutory pay, the employed parent must have a minimum of 26 weeks service with the employer with average earnings that meet the lower earnings limit (currently, £116.00 per week).
Initially, it was proposed that the leave should be taken within 56 days (i.e. 8 weeks) of the date of death of the child. However, in the Government’s response to the consultation on parental bereavement leave and pay, the period was extended to 56 weeks. In the response, published on the 2nd November 2018, the Government stated: “The Government has decided to extend the window in which the two weeks of leave and pay can be taken to 56 weeks from the date of the death of the child. This will offer bereaved parents the flexibility to take the leave and pay at the times when they most need it to support their grieving, including around the first anniversary of the child’s death.“
In terms of who is entitled to receive paid parental bereavement leave, a “bereaved parent” has been broadly defined as a “primary carer” who had a relationship with the deceased child which was “parental” in nature.
The 2 weeks paid parental bereavement leave can be taken as one single block of 2 weeks or in two separate blocks of 1 week each.
To Be Paid From April 2020
In its announcement, the Government stated: “The government will introduce a new statutory entitlement to two weeks’ of leave for employees who suffer the death of a child under 18, or a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy. Employed parents will also be able to claim pay for this period, subject to meeting eligibility criteria. This entitlement will come into force in April 2020.” Business Minister, Kelly Tolhurst MP, added: “Dealing with the loss of a child is an awful tragedy which we recognise people will deal with differently. It is important this new law is designed so that people are given the space and respect to grieve in their own way.“