Last May, during Children’s Hospice Week we decided to try and shed some light on bereavement leave entitlements. We explained that at that moment in time, the law did not allow any paid time off for bereavement leave. It did however allow for an employee to take a reasonable period of unpaid leave, depending upon the deceased person having been a dependant.
In 2017, during Baby Loss Awareness Week, there was a call from MP’s to allow parents to take paid time off work to grieve for their loss. This provided some uncertainty for employers as well as a risk of additional expense, and previous attempts to legislate in this area met difficulties in defining a family. In our modern society, step families, aunt, uncles and grandparents can all have a role in raising a child, legislative draftsmen and women had issues in accurately and fairly reflecting the wide nature of family in law so as to allow the correct people to benefit from this right.
In September this year, the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018 received Royal Assent. It provides a right to two weeks off for employees who have lost a child under 18., it is due to come into effect in April 2020. We are waiting for the regulations to be published to set out the definitions of a family and the amount of pay an employee will be entitled to.
We proudly work alongside and support the child bereavement charity A Child of Mine, the CEO Gayle Routledge, told our director Kevin Murphy that “grieving takes a set path put can often have a delayed effect”. We will have to wait for the regulations to be published to understand what might happen if a parent wishes to return to work but later needs time to grieve.
One thing is certain however, is that our prediction in May 2017 that “there is a groundswell of support for this right to be implemented and it is probably more a case of when rather than if” was correct … well predicted, Kev!