Parents who have suffered the death of a child will receive statutory paid leave to grieve, under a new law introduced to Parliament yesterday.
The Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill seeks to ensure grieving parents in employment receive paid leave to grieve away from the workplace, which the Government says delivers on its pledge to “enhance rights and protections in the workplace”.
There is currently no legal requirement for employers to provide paid leave for grieving parents. Kevin Hollinrake MP introduced the Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill into Parliament yesterday.
He said: “This is such an important Bill for parents going through the most terrible of times. There is little any of us can do to help, but at least we can make sure that every employer will give them time to grieve.
“I have represented a number of constituents who have had to deal with the tragedy of losing a child and I am honoured to be able to do something to help parents in these desperate circumstances.”
Currently under the Employment Rights Act, employees have a day-one right to take a “reasonable” amount of unpaid time off work to deal with an emergency involving a dependant, including making arrangements following the death of a dependant.
What is “reasonable” depends on circumstances but, in practice, the length of time off is agreed between the employer and employee.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will be working with employers, employee representatives and campaigners on behalf of working families to better understand the needs of bereaved parents and employers. The Bill is expected to have its second reading in the autumn.
Business minister Margot James said: “The loss of a child is a traumatic experience for any parent. For parents holding down a job at the same time as dealing with their grief, it can be doubly stressful.
“We want parents to get the support they need at this deeply upsetting time that is why Government is supporting this Private Members Bill which will introduce statutory paid bereavement leave for employed parents.”