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Bereavement Leave becomes a reality for working parents

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Top employment solicitors have welcomed the news that the Parental Leave and Pay Bill has now achieved Royal Assent. Anticipated by employment law solicitors in London to come into force in 2020, the new law gives working parents the right to take 2 weeks’ leave should they suffer the devastating loss of a child. Statutory parental bereavement pay is also introduced.

Addressing the trauma of losing a child

Bereavement at any time can be devastating, but the law now recognises that losing a child, or experiencing stillbirth, is a trauma that requires particular recognition. Up until now, parents who suffer the loss of a child have had to rely on annual leave or the statutory right to time off (unpaid) for emergencies in this situation. Of course, some employers may have their own policies in place to support parents who lose a child, but with no statutory right in place, many working parents have had to cope with very little time off and no opportunity to grieve.

2 weeks’ leave from day one

The new right will apply from ‘day one’ of Employment. The new provisions amend section 80 Employment Rights Act 1996 to give all employed parents the right to 2 weeks’ leave if they lose a child under the age of 18 or suffer a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy. In addition to 2 weeks’ paid leave for all employed parents, statutory parental bereavement pay will be available to bereaved parents who have been employed for 26 weeks and who earn more than the lower earnings limit. The is a provision for the parent to give notice that he or she intends to take the bereavement leave.

8 years’ campaigning to achieve bereavement leave

The new law is the result of tireless campaigning by a number of groups and individuals including Lucy Heard, who set up the campaign group Jack’s Rainbow after she was only allowed to have 3 days off work following the death of her son.

Herd said: “When I started the campaign eight years ago after the death of my son Jack, I always hoped that a change would happen in his memory”.

Knowing that eight years of campaigning has helped create legislation to ensure bereaved parents are protected in the future is such a wonderful feeling and I am so grateful to all those involved.”

If you are looking for employment law solicitors in London, why not call us on 0203 959 9123? OTS Solicitors can handle all aspects of employment law, including HR policy advice and review, and can help businesses incorporate bereavement leave into their HR practice to ensure the right is handled sensitively in those cases where it is required.

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