Bereavement Leave and Pay Act

Baby's tiny foot being held by a parent's thumb and index fingers

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

The Bill, which was introduced by Kevin Hollinrake MP, was passed in 2018 and will come into force from 6 April 2020. It means that all employed parents are entitled to two weeks paid time off 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 Act, this legislation will support around 10,000 families every year, giving them paid time off to grieve and make arrangements when their child dies.

Thank you to everyone who shaped Bliss’ response to the Government's consultation into this policy. We will post more information about how to access this entitlement when it is available.

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 does the Act allow parents to access?

  • 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 weeks 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.