< Bereavement at work

Parental bereavement leave

We’re very sorry if you are reading this because you or an employee has been recently bereaved. This article explains more about Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay, which is set to come into effect in Great Britain in April 2020.

This law has been passed to ensure that the parents or primary carers of a child who dies, can take paid time off work to grieve and attend to personal or administrative matters and arrangements.

Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay will entitle parents or primary carers to two weeks’ paid time off, when a dependent child under the age of 18 dies. They will be able to take a fortnight, or arrange leave over two separate weeks, up to 56 days after their child has died.

A primary carer may be identified as a parent, foster parent, family member or friend who is responsible for the child’s care.

The statutory Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay payment is anticipated to be £139.59 per week, or no less of 90 per cent of the bereaved person’s average weekly wage (whichever is lower). Employers will be able to recoup all, or most of this statutory payment back from the Government.

Parents who are on maternity or paternity leave when their child dies, will be able to claim Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay, while parents who were expecting a child will also be entitled to paid time off work to grieve, when a child is stillborn after 24 weeks into a pregnancy.

The law will also enable parents grieving the death of more than one child, to take leave in respect of each child.

When a child dies, their primary carers will be able to claim Parental Bereavement Leave and pay without prior notice – nor the need for employers to request a death certificate. You may be required to give a week’s notice to your employer, if you require time off further into the 56-day 'window'.

It is currently up to employers to decide how and when they grant time off for staff, when someone – including a person’s child – dies. Known as compassionate leave, this may be paid or unpaid, according to the company’s policy.

If you are a member of a union or employee organisation, you may find that this has welfare funds available, if you are facing unpaid time off work to cope with the death of your child.

Benevolent Funds

However, it is considered good practice for employers to offer employees some paid leave after a bereavement and to have a flexible approach to how it is applied. This entitlement should be clearly set out in the organisation’s bereavement policy.