My dad died a couple of weeks ago. Grief assaulted me like a wrecking ball. I was lucky - my employers offered support and understanding and I was given time to recover.
The government has recognised that not all employers are so generous or flexible and has said it will support a private members bill - The Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill - providing employees with the right to take up to two weeks bereavement leave to begin to recover from the death of a child.
However, this will be limited to parents trying to come to terms with the death of a child under 18 years old (rather than to other employees who have lost a close relative).
Employees will have:
- A day-one right to take parental bereavement leave;
- The right to receive parental bereavement pay for employees who have worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks.
The Bill does not state whether pay will be capped (like lower statutory maternity pay or statutory sick pay) or relate to the employee's actual earnings. The government has, however, said that small employers will be able to recover all statutory parental bereavement pay while larger employers will be able to reclaim almost all of it.
The government believes that this scheme will be one of the most generous in the world. It is certainly a worthwhile amendment and one that will offer parents time away from work to start to recover from, what must be, a devastating loss.
The Bill's second reading takes place on 20 October and it is anticipated that the change will become law in 2020.
Francine Bates, CEO of The Lullaby Trust said: We warmly welcome this new law giving paid leave to bereaved parents. Losing a child is one of the most devastating experiences that a parent can go through and it is vitally important that they are supported by their employer and not made to return to work before they are ready.