Parental bereavement leave and pay

Gillian Cumming
Gillian Cumming
Senior Solicitor
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The Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill, published by the Government last week, provides that parents will receive at least two weeks’ paid bereavement leave upon the death of a child under the age of 18.

Although many employers already provide paid bereavement leave, there is currently no legal obligation for employers to allow parents paid time off in these circumstances. However, employees do already have the right to take a ‘reasonable’ amount of unpaid time off work to deal with an emergency involving dependants, under the Employment Rights Act 1996. The death of a dependant is one of the permitted reasons to take unpaid ’emergency’ time off under this provision.

The bill will entitle all employees who are parents, regardless of their length of service, to bereavement leave upon the death of any child under the age of 18. Statutory parental bereavement pay will be payable to employees who have a minimum of 26 weeks’ continuous service with their employer.

A copy of the bill can be viewed here.

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