Further details of parental bereavement leave and pay announced
The Government has provided further details of the new right to parental bereavement leave and pay, coming into force in 2020.
Which parents have the right?
In September this year the Government confirmed that it will be introducing a new right to bereavement leave and pay for parents who lose a child under the age of 18. It has now confirmed that the right will be available to a wide category of parent, extending beyond biological and adoptive parents to anyone who was acting as the child’s parent before the child died, including step parents, foster parents, grandparents, other relatives or family friends.
When can leave be taken?
The Government has decided that the two week leave entitlement can be taken in a single block of two weeks or as two separate blocks of one week, within 56 weeks of the child’s death. The 56 week window means that parents will be able to take leave around the anniversary of the child’s death if they wish to do so.
Where a parent takes leave soon after their child’s death (the exact period has yet to be decided), they will not be required to give notice of their intention to take leave. They will just need to inform their employer of the reason for their absence and that they intend to take parental bereavement leave. However, where they take leave at a later date they will be required to give at least one week’s notice.
Evidence of right to take leave and receive pay
For bereavement leave, the employee will only have to provide a declaration of their entitlement if their employer requests it. Even then, the Government considers that if a parent takes time off around the time of the child’s death they will not have to provide a written declaration confirming their entitlement before they take the leave.
However, the position is different for statutory bereavement pay. Here employees will have to provide a written declaration that they meet the eligibility requirements (similar to those for statutory paternity pay), irrespective of whether their employer asks for this. This is to protect employers and the Exchequer from potential abuse.
The latest information comes in the Government’s response to the consultation. It will now prepare draft regulations setting out the detail of the new right.
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