So, the (two sets of) regulations providing for the 2 weeks’ of bereavement leave have been published. One set of regulations deal with Pay and the other set deal with leave. Clearly, too difficult to put pay and leave in the same set of regulations! if you are particularly interested in the actual regulations themselves, you can download them here:
A huge amount of credit should be given to Lucy Herd, the mother of Jack Herd. Lucy has campaigned for over 10 years for bereavement leave to be provided to parents. The law is to be known as "Jack's Law" in memory of her son Jack.
Set out below is a summary of the provisions of both sets of regulations:
1. To qualify for pay you must be: the parent, the adoptive parent, an intended parent or the partner of the parent. There are some complex provisions re the adoption, prospective adopters and intended parents which I won’t address here!
2. The bereavement leave applies if the parents lose a child under the age of 18 or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy.
3. There is no service requirement relating to length of employment. It is a “day one” employment right.
4. The right to Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay (SPBP) is at the statutory rate of £151.20, subject to future increases or 90% of normal weekly earnings, whichever is the lower.
5. SPBP will be administered by employers in the same way as existing family-related statutory payments such as Statutory Paternity Pay.
6. It takes effect from 6 April 2020.
7. The period of pay and leave is 2 weeks. It can be taken in a block of 2 weeks or two discontinuous weeks. The leave must be taken within 56 weeks of the death of the child.
8. An employee does not need to provide notice in writing to their employer, but the length of notice required to book and cancel parental bereavement leave will vary depending on whether the period the employee intends to take as parental bereavement leave falls within 56 days of the child’s death or later. If the employee wishes to take leave within 56 days of the death of their child the notice required to be provided by them is:
(1) before they are due to start work on their first day of absence from work in that week, or
(2) in a case where it is not reasonably practicable for the employee to give notice before they start work on the first day of absence, as soon as is reasonably practicable.
9. If the bereavement leave is to occur more than 56 days after the death of their child the notice they must provide 1 weeks’ notice.
10. To be entitled to SPBP parents must provide a written declaration, on the first occasion that they give notice, that they meet one of the relevant conditions as to relationship with the child who has died.
11. The right to pay and leave is limited to employees. It does not extend to workers.
12. In the very sad and unfortunate circumstances where the parent loses more than one child, they will be entitled to pay and leave in respect of each child.
13. A former employer can be liable to make payments of statutory parental bereavement pay to a former employee in any case where the employee had been employed for a continuous period of at least 8 weeks and the employment was ended with the sole or main purpose of avoiding liability to pay the SPBP.
14. Quite rightly, anyone entitled to the leave is protected from detriment or dismissal because they took or sought to take the leave.
We will be publishing our template policies and letters shortly. Please contact us if you would like advice on writing, drafting and implementation.
Matt Huggett, Partner
07496 126 266
Lucy Herd said: In the immediate aftermath of a child dying, parents have to cope with their own loss, the grief of their wider family, including other children, as well as a vast amount of administrative paperwork and other arrangements. A sudden or accidental death may require a post-mortem or inquest; there is a funeral to arrange; and there are many other organisations to contact, from schools to benefit offices. When I started this campaign 10 years ago after the death of my son Jack, I always hoped that a positive change would happen in his memory. Knowing that nearly 10 years of campaigning has helped create ‘Jack’s Law’ is the most wonderful feeling, but it is bittersweet at the same time. I am so grateful to all those involved who have helped make this possible. I was told many times that I would not succeed but Jack’s Law will now ensure that bereaved parents are better protected in the future.