Bereavement Leave and Pay Bill

The Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill has now passed through Parliament to become law.

The Bill, which was introduced by Kevin Hollinrake MP, will mean that, from 2020, eligible bereaved parents can have paid time off from work after the death of their child. While the Government hopes that employers will be supportive and provide support above and beyond what is contained in this Bill, this legislation will mean all employed parents are entitled to paid time off to grieve and make arrangements when their child dies.

Why is this Bill important?

Currently, there is no statutory provision for parents if a child dies. Often parents will only be entitled to their company's generic bereavement or compassionate leave policy - which is typically three days leave.

Bliss has heard from parents who had to use annual leave or unpaid leave in order to take the time they needed to process their initial grief and to plan and attend their baby's funeral.

My employer rang me during my paternity leave and told me that as my son had died, there was no child to look after. I was considered AWOL and was asked when I'd return to work.

What will the Bill allow parents to access?

If this Bill becomes law, it will mean that:

  • All employed parents will be able to take two weeks paid leave if their child (18 years or below) sadly dies or is stillborn. It will be paid at statutory level, similar to paternity leave.
  • Parents will have 56 days to use the leave.
  • This Leave will be in addition to any parental leave the parent is also entitled too.

What else would Bliss like to see?

Bliss is delighted that the Government has chosen to back this Bill, and are pleased to have been involved in shaping it up until this point. In its current form it will provide families with additional support at the most difficult time of their lives. However, we would also like to see:

  • The provision extended to self-employed parents, and equivalent support for parents who are unemployed.
  • Bereaved parents to be entitled to take Unpaid Parental Leave until their child would have turned 18. This could be used to support parents around the time of special anniversaries or events.
  • Greater flexibility so the Leave could be taken in separate blocks, and over a longer period of time.