Bereavement leave

Thursday 6th February 2020

Sadly, bereavement is something that may affect all of us at some point in our lives. Until now, there has been no statutory right to be paid for bereavement leave. The Employment Rights Act 1996 allows employees the right to take ‘reasonable’ time off to deal with an emergency, but this is currently only unpaid leave.

From 6 April 2020, the government is implementing new laws which entitle employees to two weeks’ paid bereavement leave for parents who have suffered the loss of a child under the age of 18 or a stillborn baby from the 24th week of pregnancy. Adults with parental responsibility include adopters, foster parents and guardians. 

There are two main regulations that will allow a parent to take either one or two weeks’ paid leave (the two weeks can be separate)- The Parental Bereavement Leave Regulations 2020 and The Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay (General) Regulations 2020. The leave will be paid at the lower of £151.20 per week or 90% of the individual’s salary and the individual must have been employed for a continuous period of at least 26 weeks before the child’s death to be eligible for paid parental bereavement leave.

It is worth noting that all employees have a ‘day one’ right to unpaid bereavement leave.

From an employer’s perspective, managing bereavement in the workplace is a highly-sensitive issue and can be challenging. The individual affected may find it hard to continue to work, especially if they are customer/client facing. Up until now, there has been no statutory right to be paid for bereavement leave, however the new law will be one of the most generous allowances for bereaved parents.

For assistance in dealing with the new laws and ensuring that your business is compliant, with the correct policies in place, please contact Hannah Scott or Courtney Hawkins on 01384 811811