This proposed change in the law can be seen as a common sense change by most employers.  Whilst not confirmed, it is likely that by April 2020 it will be a legal right for parents who lose a child under the age of 18 or suffer a still berth from 24 weeks of pregnancy will be entitled to claim 2 weeks paid leave.

Who qualifies?

  • Parents and primary carers who have suffered the loss of a child under the age of 18
  • Carers includes adopters, foster parents, guardians and kinship carers, who may be close relatives or family friends that have assumed responsibility for looking after a child in the absence of parents
  • Parents who suffer a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy. Female employees are still entitled to up to 52 weeks of maternity leave
  • Qualifying employees should have been employed for a continuous period of at least 26 weeks before the child’s death
  • Parents and carers are not expected to provide evidence of the loss of a child to prove eligibility

What are employees entitled to?

  • Two weeks paid leave for qualifying parents and carers should have been employed for at least 26 weeks prior to the child’s death, and have received pay above the lower earnings limit for the previous eight weeks
  • The two weeks’ leave can be taken either in one block of two weeks, or as two separate blocks of one week. It should be taken within 56 weeks of the date of the child’s death to allow for anniversaries and birthdays
  • The pay rate for bereavement leave is still to be confirmed but is likely to be similar to paternity/maternity rates
  • If an employee loses more than one child, they will be entitled to take a separate period of leave for each child