Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay
10 June 2019
From April 2020 the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018 introduces a statutory right to time off work for employed parents, with pay where eligibility requirements are met, following the loss of a child.
The Act will give all employed parents a day-one statutory right to 2 weeks of leave if they lose a child under the age of 18 or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy. Parents will be entitled to this leave irrespective of their length of service with their employer and the entitlement will apply in respect of each child. Pay will be subject to qualifying conditions as found with other similar periods of statutory pay aimed at the working parent.
The Government published its response to the consultation in November 2018 which confirms key aspects of the policy to be set in regulations. As a result of the responses received, the government has taken the following decisions:
- the policy will use a broad definition of a ‘bereaved parent’ centred on the notion of ‘primary carer’, with the guiding principle being that the relationship should be parental in nature
- parental bereavement leave and pay can be taken as a single block, or as 2 separate weeks
- employed parents will have a window of 56 weeks to use the entitlement
- notice requirements will be flexible and will distinguish between leave taken very soon and leave taken at a later period
- evidence requirements will mirror existing requirements used for other family leave and pay rights, where it is practicable to do so.
Geographical extent: The Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay measures apply to Great Britain only.
The CIPP are members of the Statutory Payments Consultation Group and a question that was raised at the forum was how the entitlement to statutory parental bereavement pay will work for people who live in Northern Ireland but are employed by a GB employer with a contract of employment written under the Employment Rights Act (ERA) 1996.
The answer we received is that generally, employees who live in Northern Ireland but who have a GB employer and an employment contract under ERA 1996 will qualify for family-related leave and pay entitlements. This will also be the case for Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay.
Guidance has not yet been published but and as we stressed in our consultation response to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and at every opportunity thereafter, it is vital that this statutory right is supported by clear, comprehensive and timely guidance. The Policy team will continue to work with BEIS and will review and share draft guidance when it becomes available.