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Parental bereavement leave and pay

27 January 2020

Draft Regulations has now been published in respect of ‘Jack’s Law’, giving bereaved employed parents and those with parental responsibility the right to two weeks’ leave following the death of a child under 18 (including stillbirths after 24 weeks of pregnancy). Those with six months’ service and with average weekly earnings above the lower earnings limit will also be entitled to statutory pay. These Regulations are due to come into force on 6 April 2020.

The leave can be taken in one block of two weeks or two blocks of one week, within 56 weeks of the date of the child’s death. There are specific notice provisions required, although these differ depending on whether the leave is taken within the first 56 days or not. There are also provisions included in the draft Regulations setting out how the leave will interact with other periods of statutory leave, and detailing the protection from detriment and unfair dismissal which will apply.

There are around 7,500 child deaths in the UK each year, including around 3,000 stillbirths. Although there are some existing limited rights under the Employment Rights Act 1996 to take reasonable (unpaid) time off to deal with an emergency, and many employers will offer some degree of compassionate leave, this new legislation will be the first to create a specific entitlement to two weeks’ leave following the death of a child, paid at statutory rates for those who qualify.

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