New right to Statutory Parental Bereavement Leave comes into force today
From today, a new right to Statutory Parental Bereavement Leave will apply; by virtue of The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018. This leave entitles all parents to two weeks of bereavement leave, which has to be taken within 56 weeks of the child’s death. This right applies to employees from day one of employment.
The leave can be taken in one go or in two one week portions. The leave applies to parents whose child dies or is stillborn on or after 6 April 2020. The right covers adoptive parents and the partner of a parent who lives with that person and the child in an “enduring family relationship". The child must be under 18 (or a stillbirth after 24 completed weeks of pregnancy).
If an employee wishes to take parental bereavement leave within 56 days of their child’s death, they must give notice to their employer before the first day of absence, or as soon as is reasonably practicable. After the first 56 days, an employee is required to give at least one week’s notice of their intention to take parental bereavement leave.
In both situations, the employee must specify the following: the date of death; the date which they choose any period of absence to begin and; whether they will be taking one or two weeks’ leave.
The leave can be cancelled by the employee if it has not already started. After 56 days, the employee must give at least one week’s notice of their decision to cancel.
Employees who have been employed for at least 26 weeks and who meet minimum earnings criteria will be entitled to Statutory Bereavement Pay during their bereavement leave of £151.20 weekly pay or 90% of their weekly salary, whichever is lower. The Employee must give notice to their employer within 28 days of the first day of the period for which the Statutory Bereavement Pay will be paid. They must also provide evidence of their entitlement.
Some employees will want to use their holiday during this time to maintain their salary. This should be discouraged as holiday should only be taken to rest from work. An employer should review the situation on case by case basis. Some employers may decide to offer full pay to their employees at this difficult time.
Employers should also bear in mind that grief can lead to conditions which may be classed as a disability under the Equality Act 2010; such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Employees may need to see an Occupational Health professional and to have reasonable adjustments to facilitate their return to work.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss the content of this article, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Employment team.