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Parents granted automatic workplace rights if suffering loss of a child

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
The government has set out further details of a new law to provide a day-one right to leave and pay for parents suffering the loss of a child under the age of 18.

As part of the Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Act, which is expected to come into force in 2020, parents and carers will be eligible to receive up to two weeks’ leave as a day-one right. This can be taken at once or in two separate blocks of one week each. Eligible employees will also receive two weeks’ statutory pay.

The new law – the first of its kind in the UK – will also apply to primary carers for children, such as adopters, foster parents and guardians, as well as ‘kinship carers’ who may be relatives or family friends who assumed responsibility for the child.

The Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) also confirmed employees will not have to give notice for leave immediately after a loss or need to supply a copy of a death certificate to use as evidence.

It will also apply to those suffering a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst, said: “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.”

Currently, 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.

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