Details of how parental bereavement leave and pay will operate have been outlined in the government’s response to the consultation.
The Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Act, which is expected to come into force in 2020, ensures bereaved employees who lose a child under 18 will receive two weeks leave as a day-one right. Eligible employees will also receive two weeks statutory pay.
As a result of the consultation, the government has announced that the regulations will use a broad definition of a ‘bereaved parent’ to take into account a variety of family circumstances. As such, the Act will apply to all primary carers for children, including adopters, foster parents and guardians.
The Act will also cover more informal groups such as kinship carers, who may be a close relative or family friend and have assumed responsibility for the care of the child in the absence of the parents.
It outlined that parental bereavement leave and pay can be taken as a single block or as two separate weeks, and that employed parents will have a window of 56 weeks to use the entitlement. The response stated that notice requirements will be flexible so that leave can be taken without prior notice very soon after the child’s death. It will also distinguish between leave taken very soon and leave taken at a later period.
Finally, the government confirmed that evidence requirements will mirror existing requirements used for other family leave and pay rights, where it is practicable to do so. As such, employers will not be entitled to request a copy of death certificate to use as evidence.
Francine Bates, Chief Executive of The Lullaby Trust said: “We are very pleased that the government has listened to bereaved families and responded to their concerns in paving the way for the implementation of the new Act.
“Losing a baby or child is a devastating experience for all the family and extending the provisions of the act to adopters, foster carers, guardians and kinship carers is very important. Offering time and flexibility to bereaved families at a time that best suits them is also crucial in supporting them through their journey,” she said.