Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay guidance published
07 April 2020
Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay (SPBP) and Parental Bereavement Leave (PBL) were introduced at the start of the new tax year, on 6 April 2020. This provides working parents who lose a child under the age of 18, or who suffer a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy, with a new right to two weeks of leave and, for eligible employees, two weeks of pay.
HMRC and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have released a substantial amount of guidance in relation to the new entitlements, which is discussed below.
There are a multitude of circumstances that would affect the payment of Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay.
If an employee receives a backdated pay rise which increases the amount of earnings already paid in the relevant period, employers must recalculate the employee’s Average Weekly Earnings (AWE) and pay any extra SPBP due, if applicable. If they weren’t originally entitled to payment, then their AWE must be recalculated to establish whether or not they are now entitled to the payment.
An employee’s AWE must be recalculated if all of the following apply:
- Their AWE are less than the Lower Earnings Limit (LEL) in force at the end of the relevant week
- They received any expense payments or benefits in kind in the relevant period
- The expenses or benefits were included in a PAYE settlement agreement
Where employees have entered into a salary sacrifice arrangement with their employer, their AWE should be calculated based on the amount of earnings actually paid to them. SPBP cannot be sacrificed and must be paid in its entirety.
Finally, SPBP may be available to foster carers.
If the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations / TUPE Regulations 2006 apply, then the employee’s length of service is unbroken. These regulations apply where:
- An employer takes over a business, part of a business or a service provision
- An employer takes on, at the same time, the contracts of employment of transferred employees
The transferor must provide ‘employee liability information’ which details the identities of employees being transferred with the business.
If TUPE regulations do not apply, the length of service may continue when:
- A teacher in a school maintained by a local education authority moves to another school maintained by the same authority, inclusive of maintained schools, where school governors are the teacher’s employer
- One corporate body takes over from another as the employer by or under an Act of Parliament
- The employer dies and their personal representative or trustees keep the employee on
- There is a change in the partners, personal representatives or trustees
- The employee moves from one employer to another and the two employers are associated at the time of the move
If continuity of employment is not broken, employees are eligible for SPBP as long as they work for their current employer and their previous employer during the 26 weeks ending with the relevant week.
If continuity of employment is broken, and the employer takes on a business after the death of a child or stillbirth, the previous employer must pay SPBP to the employee. If the employer takes on the business before the death of a child or stillbirth, the employee is not entitled to SPBP.
If an employer stops trading, they must pay any outstanding SPBP until either the employee has had their full entitlement, or where the entitlement ends for another reason.
If an employer becomes insolvent during the period of SPBP, HMRC will pay the employee’s SPBP from the date of insolvency. The employer, administrator, liquidator, or similar must advise HMRC to ensure employees are paid as soon as possible. Employees should contact the Statutory Payment Disputes Team, on 03000 560530.
If an employee is made redundant, the employer will still be required to pay SPBP providing all other qualifying conditions have been satisfied.
There is extensive information regarding how different employment types affect what is paid in SPBP including:
- Agency workers and casual/short contract employees
- Agricultural workers
- Employees with more than one employer
- Employees with more than one job with the same employer
- Employees who work abroad
- NHS employees
- Supply teachers, seasonal workers or other irregular employment
HMRC and BEIS have also released guidance on manually calculating SPBP.
The tables showing relevant weeks and start dates for SPBP have been published.
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