Paid Parental Bereavement Leave April 2020
Despite being undoubtedly one of the hardest things that any parent can go through, there is currently no right to paid time off for bereaved parents.
From 6th April 2020 new legislation comes into force which entitles bereaved parents to 2 weeks paid leave. The right is of course a step in the right direction, but is a right to a statutory payment i.e. £118 per week (2019-2020). This payment will often be able to be claimed back by the employer.
Of course this is a positive step, but employers are encouraged to consider exercising further discretion in such tragic circumstances.
In order to qualify for this right, the parent employee will have to be employed and have been employed for 26 weeks before their loss. If a parent is employed for less than 26 weeks, they will be entitled to unpaid time off.
This new right will only apply to parents who suffer a still birth after 24 weeks or the loss of a child up to age 18.
Regardless of the legislation, employers should also consider:
1. Being flexible and mindful of the parent employee and their colleagues. It is extremely likely that an employee will need more than 2 weeks off and to rush a parent back into work due to financial commitments will have a long-term impact on that parent;
2. Discuss and agree what communications will be made to colleagues. Consider educating colleagues if agreed by the parents;
3. Consider offer access to counselling, and relevant charities;
4. The parent employee’s health and following a sickness absence process in this regard, to include fully considering any reasonable adjustments before a return to work;
5. Offering employees further support for example access to charities and support groups;