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New right to paid bereavement leave from 2020 becomes law

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We have welcomed a new law which, the government expects, will introduce a right to two weeks’ paid leave for working parents across the UK who are bereaved of a child from 2020.

The Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Act 2018 means that parents facing their worst nightmare will at least have a right to some time away from work to begin to come to terms with the loss of their child, if they want it.

Welcoming the news, Andy Fletcher, Chief Executive of Together for Short Lives said:

“This will be a big step forward for bereaved parents, who currently have no legal right to paid time off following the death of their child. While many employers do enable bereaved employees to take away from work, sadly some have failed to show the compassion that families facing the unimaginable need and deserve. I commend and thank parliamentarians including Kevin Hollinrake MP, Will Quince MP and Lord Knight, as well as campaigners like Lucy Herd, for their work in getting this crucial law onto the statute book.”

As part of the National Bereavement Alliance, Together for Short Lives is continuing to work with the government to try to make sure that the regulations that will support the new law bring about as much flexibility for bereaved families as possible. The charity is calling on the government to:

  • extend the period in which the leave must be taken from 56 days beginning with the date of the child’s death (as is specified in the act) to 56 weeks following the child’s death
  • make sure that the leave is not restricted to parent carers, but is also available to all those who have a parental relationship with the child, such as foster carers and kinship carers.
  • make sure that the leave and payments can be taken in periods of time other than a week
  • extend the leave and payment to self-employed people and those who are on zero hours contracts
  • make sure that parent carers who are bereaved of young people with life-limiting conditions up to the age of 25 to be able to access parental leave and payments.

Andy Fletcher said:

“Bereavement is not a one-size-fits-all process. Now that the act has received Royal Assent, I ask ministers to use this once-in-a-generation opportunity to make sure that the new law delivers a responsive system of leave and pay that gives bereaved parents the choice and control to best suit their needs.”

You can find out more about the new law on the government website here.

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