The Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave Bill) was published by the government on 13 October 2017 and aims to grant bereaved parents, who have lost a child under the age of 18, two weeks' paid leave. The Bill will entitle all employees to parental bereavement leave, regardless of their length of service. In addition, employees with over 26 weeks' continuous service will be entitled to statutory parental bereavement pay. Employers will be able to recover the cost of this payment from the Government.
When willIt Come into Force? The Bill will receive a second reading in Parliament on 20 October 2017. If successful, it is expected to come into force in 2020. Employers' Current Obligations:
• Employers are not obliged to provide paid leave for grieving parents, although many do.
• Regardless of their length of service, employees have the right under the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA 1996) to take a 'reasonable' amount of unpaid time off work to deal with an emergency involving a dependant, including making arrangements following the death of a dependant.
What constitutes 'reasonable' time off will depend upon the particular circumstances and will normally be agreed between employer and employee.
• Employers have a duty of care to their employees and should therefore have regard to the effect bereavement may have on their ability to carry out their daily duties. Further guidance on managing bereavement in the workplace published by Acas is available. For further information, please contact Gareth Edwards, in our Employment Law team, on 0117 314 5220.