New bill to give parents statutory paid leave to grieve death of a child


A new bill has been introduced to Parliament that would enable employed parents to receive statutory paid leave to grieve after the death of their child.

The Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill was introduced into Parliament on 19 July 2017 by Kevin Hollinrake, MP for Thirsk and Malton. The law is supported by the government in line with its pledge to enhance rights and protections in the workplace.

The new law will work to allow grieving parents in employment to take paid leave in order to privately mourn after the death of their child.

Currently, there is no legal requirement for employers to provide paid leave for grieving parents. Under the Employment Rights Act, employees have a day-one right to take a reasonable amount of unpaid time off work to deal with an emergency involving a dependent. This would include making arrangements following the death of a dependent. The length of this unpaid leave is usually agreed between the employer and employee.

The bill is expected to have its second reading in the autumn.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will work with employers, employee representatives, and campaigners over the summer in order to better understand the needs of bereaved parents and their employers.

Hollinrake said: “This is such an important bill for parents going through the most terrible of times. There is little any of us can do to help, but at least we can make sure that every employer will give them time to grieve.

“I have represented a number of constituents who have had to deal with the tragedy of losing a child and I am honoured to be able to do something to help parents in these desperate circumstances.”

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Margot James, business minister, added: “The loss of a child is a traumatic experience for any parent. For parents holding down a job at the same time as dealing with their grief it can be doubly stressful.

“We want parents to get the support they need at this deeply upsetting time. That is why government is supporting this private member’s bill which will introduce statutory paid bereavement leave for employed parents.”