Parental bereavement leave: Everything you need to know about Jack’s Law

The Government has announced that the Parental Bereavement Leave Bill – known as Jack’s Law – will come into force 6th April 2020.

It is the first of a raft of new employment reforms aimed at making the UK the best place in the world to work and to start a business.

The parental bereavement law arrives ahead of the Government’s new Employment Bill, announced in December, which will introduce carers’ leave and neonatal pay in the future.

The bill has been named after Jack Herd whose mother campaigned for the change for a decade, following the death of her son in 2010.

Andrea Leadsom MP said: “There can be few worse experiences in life than the loss of a child and I am proud that this government is delivering Jack’s Law, making us the first country in the world to do so.”

Around 7,500 child deaths or stillbirths occur in the UK every year. The Government estimates that this new entitlement will help to support around 10,000 parents a year.

The Parental Bereavement Bill, introduced by Kevin Hollinrake MP and supported by the Government, will give a day-one right to parental bereavement leave. Employees with a minimum of 26 weeks’ continuous service will be eligible for statutory parental bereavement pay.

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Who is entitled to parental bereavement pay?

Employed parents and adults with parental responsibility who have suffered the loss of a child under the age of 18 are entitled to this.

Adults with ‘parental responsibility’ include adoptive parents, foster parents and guardians.

It’s also expected to apply to those classed as ‘kinship carers’, who may be close relatives or family friends that have assumed responsibility for looking after a child in the absence of parents

The new entitlement will also apply to parents who suffer a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy

What is the entitlement?

The new bill entitles employees to a statutory payment of £148.68 per week (for 2019-20) or 90% of their average weekly earnings, where this is lower than the statutory payment.

Workers who have not been employed for a continuous period of at least 26 weeks are entitled to two weeks’ unpaid leave

The two weeks’ leave can be taken either in one block of two weeks, or as two separate blocks of one week each.

The leave must be taken within 56 weeks of the date of the child’s death. This is to allow for time to be taken off for difficult events such as birthdays or anniversaries

Notice requirements for taking the leave will be flexible, so it can be taken at short notice

If an employee loses more than one child, they will be entitled to take a separate period of leave for each child.

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