The Government Announces Paid Bereavement Leave for Parents
The Government has announced that parents in the UK who lose a child, will be entitled to two weeks’ worth of paid bereavement leave from April 2020.
The new law applies to parents who have lost a child under the age of 18, or who have experienced a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy. They will be able to take bereavement leave as a single block of two weeks or as two separate blocks during the first year after their child’s death. All employees will have this right, irrespective of how long they have worked for their employer.
The new Parental Bereavement Bill is known as ‘Jack’s Law’. It is named after Jack Herd who drowned aged 23 months in 2010. Jack’s father was allowed just three days to grieve, this also including time off to attend the funeral. As a result of this, Jack’s mum, Lucy Herd, began a campaign to give more leave rights to bereaved parents.
There is currently no legal right to compassionate or bereavement leave. Employees are entitled to take time off if they need to deal with an emergency relating to their children, spouse or anyone who depends on them for care.
Around 7,500 child deaths, including around 3,000 stillbirths occur in the UK every year. The Government estimates that this new law will help to support around 10,000 parents a year.
Business secretary Andrea Leadsom said, “There can be few worse experiences in life than the loss of a child and I am proud that this Government is delivering ‘Jack’s Law’, making us the first country in the world to do so.”
Hilary Hall, NHBF chief executive, said, “Discussing a child’s death with an employee is one of the worst conversations a salon owner could ever have. We welcome this new law, as it will bring uniformity amongst employers and employees in an extremely difficult and emotional NHBF situation.”