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Law passed entitling bereaved parents to leave and pay

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Employed parents grieving the loss of their child will have the right to two weeks’ paid leave and pay, as a new bill has been enshrined in law.

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 dependant. But there is no legal requirement for employers to provide paid leave for grieving parents – the only expectation is that they be compassionate and flexible.

But the Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Act has received Royal Assent, and is expected to come into force in 2020.

It entitles grieving parents and those who suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy, to two weeks’ paid leave. It is expected that those employees with a minimum 26 weeks’ continuous service will also be eligible for statutory parental bereavement pay.

The statutory pay will be in line with statutory maternity pay (currently £145.18 per week or 90% of average weekly earnings, whichever is lower).

The bill, first introduced in parliament in July 2017 by Kevin Hollinkrake MP, said: “Losing a child is the most dreadful and unimaginable experience that any parent could suffer and it is right that grieving parents will now be given time to start to come to terms with their loss.”

Lucy Herd, from Jack’s Rainbow, said: “When I started the campaign eight years ago after the death of my son Jack, I always hoped that a change would happen in his memory.

“Knowing that eight years of campaigning has helped create legislation to ensure bereaved parents are protected in the future is such a wonderful feeling and I am so grateful to all those involved.”

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