Parental bereavement leave to be introduced in 2020

Parents and primary carers who suffer the loss of a child will be entitled to at least two weeks’ paid parental bereavement leave from April 2020, the government has confirmed.

Under the Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Act, primary carers – not just parents – will be entitled to time off work following the death of a child. This includes adopters, foster parents and guardians, as well as more informal groups such close relatives or family friends who have taken responsibility for the child’s care in the absence of parents.

People’s eligibility to receive the entitlement was widened beyond just parents, following feedback from a consultation that ran earlier this year.

It was confirmed in this week’s Budget that parental bereavement leave will be introduced in April 2020.

Parents or carers will be entitled to at least two weeks’ leave following the loss of a child under the age of 18 or a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Employees with 26 weeks’ continuous service will receive paid leave at the statutory rate and other staff will be entitled to unpaid leave.

Business minister Kelly Tolhurst, said: “Dealing with the loss of a child is an awful tragedy which we recognise people will deal with differently.

“It is important this new law is designed so that people are given the space and respect to grieve in their own way.”

Leave can either be taken in one block or in two separate blocks of one week. It can be taken within a 56 week window from the child’s death, to allow time for moments such as anniversaries, and notice requirements will be flexible so leave can be taken without prior notice.

Parents will not need to provide the employer with a death certificate as evidence.

Francine Bates, chief executive of The Lullaby Trust charity, said it was pleased the government had listened to bereaved families’ concerns and made the entitlement available to more carers and guardians.

“Losing a baby or child is a devastating experience for all the family and extending the provisions of the act to adopters, foster carers, guardians and kinship carers is very important,” she said.

“Offering time and flexibility to bereaved families at a time that best suits them is also crucial in supporting them through their journey.”

11 Responses to Parental bereavement leave to be introduced in 2020

  1. Avatar
    frances 5 Jun 2019 at 12:53 pm #

    Presumably the date of the child’s death must be on or after 6th April 2020 in order to qualify?

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      Margaret 6 Jan 2020 at 5:16 pm #

      Frances – has anyone come back to you with an answer on this? I have been asking the same question and despite trawling through websites can’t fins anything that comes close to giving an answer on this important question.

    • Avatar
      Lynsey 9 Jan 2020 at 10:34 am #

      Yes this is correct

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      Joanne Moseley 27 Jan 2020 at 12:05 pm #

      The rights only apply to a child who dies on or after 6 April 2020. A copy of the draft legislation is here:

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    Catherine 4 Sep 2019 at 3:56 pm #

    Has the period of time the leave can be taken within been confirmed as 56 weeks – currently the legislation refers to 56 days not weeks.

    • Avatar
      Kyle 15 Jan 2020 at 6:01 pm #

      Hi Catherine,

      Did you receive clarity on this?

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      Julie Cameron 5 Mar 2020 at 12:18 pm #

      The period of time is up to one year after the child’s death

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        Maria 9 Mar 2020 at 3:15 pm #

        It’s 56 weeks after the death to allow for anniversary events

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    Cat 5 Nov 2019 at 8:08 pm #

    Too late for me. We found our 14 year old son in our backyard on January 22 – he took his own life. I was back at work less than two weeks later- pressured by my “Christian” non profit employer.

  4. Avatar
    Mark 23 Jan 2020 at 12:29 am #

    So if your child is 18, or 20, or 40 for that matter something changes as far as the process or the grief you WILL experience. Doesn’t seem very well thought out. Caregivers but not bereaved parents of a 19 year old. Scratching my head on that.

  5. Avatar
    Jason dancer 23 Jan 2020 at 6:16 pm #

    Absolutely disgusting. Nobody should be rushed back to work. 2 weeks is nothing. People need as much time as they need and shouldn’t have to worry about there jobs.

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