The Parental Bereavement Bill

A promise to give employees who lose a child a right to time off has taken a step closer to becoming law. The parental bereavement (pay and leave) bill, which has been introduced in parliament, will give employed parents a statutory right to paid time off to grieve on the death of a child.

The Minister who introduced the bill said, “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.”

A right to time off when a child dies does not expressly exist in law at present. Instead, the Employment Rights Act allows employees to take a ‘reasonable’ amount of unpaid time off to deal with an emergency involving a dependent.

A survey run on behalf of Child Bereavement UK found that almost a third of those who had suffered the loss of a loved one in the last five years felt they had not been treated compassionately by their employer, while more than half of the 4,000 people polled said they would consider leaving their job if their organisation did not provide them with another support to cope with a death.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will be working with employers, employee representatives and campaigners over the summer to better understand the needs of bereaved families. The bill is expected to go before parliament for a second reading in the autumn

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