Employed parents who lose a child will get statutory paid leave to grieve, under a proposed new law

Parents who are employed and have suffered the death of a child will now receive statutory paid leave to grieve. The new law, which is being supported by the Government has been introduced to Parliament today.

The Government says while it expects employers to be “compassionate and flexible” at such a difficult time, not all employers respond in this way.

Currently there is no legal requirement for employers to provide paid leave for grieving parents.  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, including making arrangements following the death of a dependant.

What is “reasonable” depends on the circumstances but in practice the length of time off will be agreed between the employer and their employee. However, the Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill will seek to ensure grieving parents in employment receive paid leave to grieve away from the workplace.

Kevin Hollinrake MP introduced the Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill into Parliament. He said: “This is such an important Bill for parents going through the most terrible of times. There is little any of us can do to help, but at least we can make sure that every employer will give them time to grieve.”

Business Minister Margot James added that the loss of a child is a traumatic experience for any parent. For parents holding down a job at the same time as dealing with their grief it can be doubly stressful, she said.

“We want parents to get the support they need at this deeply upsetting time that is why Government is supporting this Private Member’s Bill which will introduce statutory paid bereavement leave for employed parents,” said James.

Over the summer, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy says it will be working with employers, employee representatives and campaigners to understand better the needs of bereaved parents and employers.

The Bill is expected to have its second reading in the autumn.

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