Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill introduced
For the first time, parents who are employed and have suffered the death of a child will receive statutory paid leave to grieve, under a new law being supported by the Government and introduced to Parliament on 19 July.
The Government expects employers to be compassionate and flexible at such a difficult time, but not all employers will respond in this way. This can have a devastating impact on parents, especially those who need time away to grieve.
The Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill will seek to ensure grieving parents in employment receive paid leave to grieve away from the workplace, delivering on the Government’s pledge to ‘enhance rights and protections in the workplace’.
Currently there is no legal requirement for employers to provide paid leave for grieving parents. Under the Employment Rights Act, employees have a day-one right to take a ‘reasonable’ amount of unpaid time off work to deal with an emergency involving a dependent, including making arrangements following the death of a dependent. What is ‘reasonable’ depends on the circumstances, but in practice the length of time off will be agreed between the employer and their employee.
Kevin Hollinrake MP introduced the Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill into Parliament. He said:
“This is such an important Bill for parents going through the most terrible of times. There is little any of us can do to help, but at least we can make sure that every employer will give them time to grieve.
“I have represented a number of constituents who have had to deal with the tragedy of losing a child and I am honoured to be able to do something to help parents in these desperate circumstances.”
Business Minister, Margot James, said:
“The loss of a child is a traumatic experience for any parent. For parents holding down a job at the same time as dealing with their grief it can be doubly stressful.
“We want parents to get the support they need at this deeply upsetting time. That is why government is supporting this Private Members Bill which will introduce statutory paid bereavement leave for employed parents.”
Over the summer, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will be working with employers, employee representatives and campaigners on behalf of working families to understand better the needs of bereaved parents and employers.
The Bill is expected to have its second reading in the autumn.