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Parental Bereavement Leave: Everything you should know

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Parental Bereavement Leave
With effect from 6 April 2020, employees will be entitled to take one or two weeks off work following the death of a child under 18 or a stillbirth under the new right of Parental Bereavement Leave. The right will apply in cases of deaths or stillbirths occurring on or after 6 April 2020 and affected employees may be entitled to statutory parental bereavement pay (SPBP) depending on their earnings an length of service.
Parental Bereavement Leave will only be available to employees and there will be no minimum length of service requirement. The right to the leave will apply on the death of a child under 18, including a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy.
The right applies to the child’s parent(s), which includes an adoptive parent, prospective adopter, intended parent under a surrogacy arrangement, a parent “in fact” (someone looking after the child in that person’s own home for the last four weeks), or that person’s spouse, partner or civil partner, but not a paid carer.
Leave can be one week, two continuous weeks, or two separate weeks, starting on any day of the week. Leave may be used anytime in first 56 weeks after death or stillbirth of child.
During first seven weeks, employees need only give notice of intention to take leave before they are due to start work on the first day of leave. From weeks 8 to 56, leave requires at least a week’s notice. Leave can be cancelled or rearranged with the same degree of notice as above.
Statutory parental bereavement pay
Payment of the statutory payment will be available to employees and paid office holders with at least six months’ continuous service and normal weekly earnings of at least the lower earnings limit.
SPBP is paid at the same rate as statutory paternity pay or shared parental pay with one or two week’s pay available, starting on any day of the week.
Policies on parental bereavement leave
We are aware that some employers will want to put in place a written policy that deals with the new statutory right to parental bereavement leave and pay however, it may be that an existing policy on compassionate leave is already contained within the staff handbook, which may already cover leave in circumstances of parental bereavement.
If you want to discuss your options for including reference to the new right of Parental Bereavement Leave within your policy documentation please contact our Employment Law team on 01274 864999.

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