A new law has been brought forward to support parents who are dealing with the loss of a child. The new Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Act covers all employed parents if they lose a child under the age of 18 or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy.
The key facts to know about the new parental bereavement entitlement is as follows;
The Act enables them to have 2 weeks' leave which must be taken within 56 weeks of the death. Employed parents will also be able to claim pay for this period, subject to meeting eligibility criteria. The new parental bereavement leave can either be taken in one block or two separate blocks of one week. Notice requirements will be flexible so leave can be taken without prior notice.
Employees who have enough service and earnings will be entitled to statutory parental bereavement pay (the specific eligibility criteria mirrors that of paternity pay). The Government guidance states that the rate of pay will be the same as that of statutory paternity and shared parental pay.
Who this applies to?
This law will apply to any permanent as well as fixed-term employees.
In order to qualify for paid bereavement leave, the law will only extend to immediate family or household. The employee can take up to 10 days without loss of pay or continuous service on each occasion. Bereavement leave can be taken in more than one period but is not to exceed the total amount of 10 days. This leave must be taken within three months of the death of the person.
What must employers do now?
We are still waiting on more details to be confirmed so there is no rush for employers to make any changes to their compassionate leave policies until the law is enforced in 2020. In the meantime, employees have the statutory right to take unpaid leave to deal with a death of a dependant, however, depending on the compassionate leave policy, employers may already have a policy in place to allow for paid leave during this time. The employers need to be conscious of grieving employees and support them in any way that they can. The most effective approach for employers is to acknowledge the employee’s loss and find out how the company can help. Often people value flexibility in working hours or change of location to suit their circumstances.
By offering this sort of support to their staff, the company is taking a step in creating a positive work culture that will increase the loyalty as well as engagement from all their employees.
How can MP HR help you?
Losing a family member is the most devasting experience we can face and having to book off work only adds to the stress, especially if there is no process in place. Our Workforce Management system will allow employees to request compassionate leave as well as a comment with the relevant information needed for the employer to process the paperwork or to enable the employee to give information on what kind of support they require from the company.
For more information or to book a software demo visit: https://www.mphr.co.uk