‘Jack’s Law’ explained: The introduction of parental bereavement leave
On 23 January 2020, the Government announced that it intends to introduce Parental Bereavement Leave, as of 6 April 2020, for the benefit of parents and primary carers who suffer the loss of a child on or after that date.
The new right will entitle employed parents and primary carers (including foster parents, adoptive parents and guardians) who have at least 26 weeks’ continuous service and who meet the minimum earnings criteria, to take Parental Bereavement Leave under the following circumstances:
• an employed parent or carer who loses a child under the age of 18; or
• an employed parent or carer who suffers a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy.
Employees will be entitled to take two weeks’ statutory leave. The leave can be taken in one block or as two separate blocks of a week each.
The leave can be taken within 56 weeks, beginning with the date of the child’s death and flexibility will exist with regard to the giving of notice.
Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay will be paid at the same rate as statutory paternity pay (£151.20 per week from April 2020 or 90% of weekly earnings if lower).
Employees with less than 26 weeks’ continuous service will be entitled to unpaid leave.
A positive step
The Government has recognised that dealing with the loss of a child is a terrible tragedy and has designed this new law so as to give people space and time to grieve.