Parents in Northern Ireland who suffer a stillbirth or the death of a child will soon be entitled to two weeks’ paid bereavement leave.
From 6 April 2022, The Parental Bereavement Leave Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2022 and The Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay (General) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2022 will take effect, bringing the rights of parents in Northern Ireland into line with those offered to parents across the rest of the UK.
Parents will be eligible if they lose a child under 18 years of age or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks.
The right to two weeks’ parental bereavement leave will be available from the first day of employment, however parental bereavement pay will only be available to those with at least 26 weeks of continuous service, as long as they have earnings over the lower earnings limit on the date of the bereavement.
Statutory parental bereavement pay will be set at a flat weekly rate of £156.66.
Parental bereavement leave
They can claim parental bereavement pay or leave at any point within 56 weeks, beginning with the date of the child’s death. Leave can be continuous or taken over separate periods within the 56 weeks.
The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act, which applies in England, Scotland and Wales, took effect in April 2020. The legislation in Northern Ireland mirrors the entitlements it provides.
Last month, Acas published employer guidance on supporting staff when they experience a bereavement. It suggests how employers should support employees following a death, including what they should do to support colleagues if someone they work with dies.