The government has announced that it has laid the draft Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Regulations before Parliament.
What is changing?
From 6 April 2020, all employees who suffer the loss of a child under the age of 18 or suffer a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy, will be entitled to 2 weeks’ statutory leave to be taken either in one consecutive period or two non-consecutive blocks. Those employees with at least 26 weeks’ service and who meet the minimum earnings criteria will also qualify for Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay. Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay will be calculated at the same rate as Statutory Paternity Pay, i.e. the lower of £151.20 per week or 90% of salary.
The ins and outs
Employers should be aware that a number of parents including natural parents, partners, adopters and even those whom have been named to adopt (but haven’t formally done so) will benefit from this new statutory right. Those entitled to take leave may do so within 56 weeks beginning with the date of death of the child. In circumstances where a parent suffers the loss of more than one child, they are able to take parental bereavement leave in respect of each child.
Having reviewed the draft regulations we note there are particularly onerous notice provisions for employees to be able to take bereavement leave which is strange given the circumstances in which this will be used.
What should employers do?
Whilst many employers may already have policies in place for when such tragedies occur, employers may wish to align their policies with the new regulations to take effect from April 2020. As part of this, employers may wish to try and explain the notice provisions in simple terms. Some employers may also consider enhancing the statutory entitlement to Parental Bereavement Leave or Pay.
How can we help?
If you’d like more information or advice on drafting policies in preparation for the Regulations to come into effect, please contact a member of the Employment & Pensions team or call 0207 880 4263.