Parents who suffer the devastating loss of a child under the age of 18, or if they suffer a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy, will be legally entitled to 2 weeks statutory leave from April 2020 as part of a landmark modification to bereavement leave.

When it comes to statutory rights, there’s currently very little provision to support staff who need time off to grieve for the loss of a loved one; this new legislation will provide parents/ primary caregivers with a legal right to parental bereavement leave.

In detail…

The new rights introduced with effect from April 2020

  • Cover any working parent, regardless of how long they have been employed
  • For those parents/primary caregivers who have been employed for at least 26 weeks prior to the child’s death, will be entitled to two weeks of statutory pay, in line with entitlements for parental leave
  • Where the parents/primary caregivers have not been employed for 26 weeks prior to the child’s death, they are still are entitled to two weeks, but without pay
  • The leave can be taken in one block of two weeks or two blocks of one week
  • Notice requirements are flexible, and the leave can be taken at short notice

Managing bereavement in the workplace can be challenging and emotional, particularly in such tragic circumstances. It’s hoped that the new law will lessen the burden on families in the event of the loss of a child, providing better protection and greater support both financially and compassionately.

Employer responsibilities

From a HR perspective, many employers will need to amend their policies to reflect the statutory requirements laid out in the new law. Employers may also wish to assess what general support they provide for bereaved employees.

From a payroll perspective, we understand that complicated payroll legislation and the introduction of new rules can be difficult to navigate, particularly during periods of turmoil. But this is where we can help, by managing your payroll, ensuring bereaved staff are paid accurately meaning there’s one less thing to worry about.

If you’re considering modifying your current policies, or need help implementing new strategies to support your employees during periods of bereavement, please do not hesitate to get in touch.