The UK is due to introduce a brand-new law on 6 April 2020 for parents who have lost a child, entitling them to bereavement leave.

What is bereavement leave?

Known as ‘Jack’s Law’, the new rules will give parents up to two weeks’ statutory leave where their child had died. This will apply in respect of any child under the age of 18, and after the 24th week of pregnancy. The statutory right will apply to all parents, no matter how long they have been employed.

The leave may also be paid at a set statutory rate. This will match maternity pay as things stand: £118 per week or 90% of average weekly earnings where this is lower. To be eligible for paid leave, however, parents must have at least 26 weeks’ continuous service with their employer. Payments will be administered by employers in the same way as maternity pay and recoverable through NIC contributions.

Bereavement leave will be able to be taken either as a single block of two weeks to start within 56 days of the child’s death, or as two separate blocks of one week each, the second block to be taken during the first year after the child’s death.

Renaissance of rights for workers?

The Conservative government has always been keen to say that Brexit will not mean any diminution in employees’ rights. In fact, they have been keen to point out that this will herald a new era of improved employment rights.

The following new legislation is also up and coming:

  • Carers’ leave. This will entitle unpaid carers to paid annual leave, although the detail has not yet been published.
  • Neonatal leave and pay benefits. This would entitle parents of premature and unwell babies time off to spend with their children in neonatal care.

If you need any further information about bereavement leave, please do not hesitate to contact us and discuss with one of our experienced employment lawyers.

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