Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Bill

16 October 2017

The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Bill was formally introduced to Parliament (known as the first reading) in July. There is no debate on the Bill at the first reading stage.

The bill is now expected to have its second reading debate on Friday 20 October 2017.

When the bill receives Royal Assent and becomes an act of law, it will amend the Employment Rights Act (ERA) 1996 to entitle parents who lose a child (under 18) to two weeks of statutory parental bereavement leave.

Currently the ERA gives a “day one” right for an employee to have ‘reasonable’ time off work to deal with an emergency, such as a bereavement involving a dependant. ‘Reasonable’ is not defined and will depend on the situation. An employer does not have to pay an employee for this time away from work but many employers offer paid special or compassionate leave.

Only employees with at least 26 weeks of continuous service will be entitled to statutory parental bereavement pay, as long their normal weekly earnings for the period of 8 weeks ending with the relevant week are not less than the current lower earnings limit.

All employees, regardless of length of service, will be entitled to two weeks of statutory parental bereavement leave.

Acas has a ‘good practice guide’ to help employers prepare for managing bereavement in the workplace by having a clear bereavement policy and by training managers and selected staff to have compassionate and effective conversations with bereaved employees.