Parental Bereavement Leave

Under new regulatory changes, the Government proposes that from April 2020 parental bereavement leave will be made statutorily available to all parents from their first day of employment!

How will changes to Parental Bereavement Leave effect Employers

Previously no parents were entitled by law to bereavement leave for the loss of a child. Whilst some employers provided their employees with some form of bereavement leave, this introduced discrepancies and issues that might not have covered a wide depth of situation or different types of parents (such as adoptive or foster parents).

Although the particulars of the new law are still to be published, we are now at a time where the Governments consultation response to the public body; which was carried out 28th March 2018 – 8th June 2018, can provide us with a hint of what to expect and prepare for when the law comes into motion regarding parental bereavement leave.

Who is covered?

This is the most poignant facet of the regulation that employers will be concerned about, when the new law comes into motion. A ‘bereaved parent’ is the primary carer for a deceased child that is under the age of 18. As previously mentioned, this is entitled from the beginning of employment, and not based upon length of service.

Interestingly enough, this helps covers adoptive parents who might be previously missed out in an individual corporation’ bereavement leave process (if they had one at all). With focus being on the primary caregiver, this means that parents of children who gave their child up for adoption and didn’t provide the primary care to the child wouldn’t be entitled.

Furthermore, to ensure that more of the right people are being covered, the new regulation proposes that the following individuals will also be considered by this new directive:

      • Foster parents who are intending to adopt
      • Adoptive parents
      • Foster parents (excluding those providing short-term foster care; for example emergency foster care)
      • Legal Guardians
Additionally, the new ‘Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018’ seeks to cover parents who have had a stillbirth 24+ weeks into pregnancy.

How is the leave utilised?

Intended to mirror how other familial leave operates, the new regulation seeks to streamline and keep a consist form in which parents take the leave in the first place. As previously mentioned, parents are entitled to 2-weeks paid leave. The parent in question can take their leave in segments of weeks; these do not have to be taken simultaneously, and can be taken separately if so desired.

What is the window of time to take bereavement leave?

Originally proposed in ‘The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018’; parents would be entitled to no less than 56-days from the date of the death of the child in question. This has now changed to 56-weeks from the date of the death of the child in question.

How and when do employees notify their employer of taking bereavement leave?

This is broken into two-sections:

      • Immediate leave – Parents taking bereavement leave can take their leave immediately, without giving a notice period. This can be done informally at the discretion of the parent. A phone call or email is acceptable.
      • Leave taken after the immediate – Regarding leave taken after the immediate death of the child, notice must be given. The period which is classed as the immediate time after the death of the child hasn’t been defined by the Government as of yet, but the Government supports at this time it will be “a few weeks”.
Due to the length of what we need to cover, we will be breaking down the rest of ‘The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018’ in our next article on Tuesday 5th March.

PACT HR always seeks to keep their clients up to date, and with regulations, policies, and laws changing and introduced on a regular basis it is important to have a dedicated organisation to keep you aware of what is occurring that will effect your organisation. Along with our regular Briefing Sessions, Workshops, and Specialist Training we cover a wide range of topics to help you organise your Human Resources. Please speak with one of the team on 01274 436644, email us on , or reach out to us on Facebook or Twitter for more information on how PACT HR may help you.