From April 2020, employed parents are entitled to two weeks’ bereavement leave following the death of a child. This article is a guide on Parental Bereavement Leave and how to take it.
What is Bereavement Leave?
Parents have the right to take up to two weeks of leave during the year following the death of a child.
Eligible parents have the right to take two weeks of Parental Bereavement Leave (if they are an employee) and Parental Bereavement Pay (if they are an employee or worker).
Employers may offer more than the statutory minimum. You should check your employment contract or your employer’s policy on bereavement leave to see if it is more generous than the statutory scheme.
Who can take Parental Bereavement Leave?
Parents have the right to take Parental Bereavement Leave if they’re an employee and their child dies under the age of 18 or is stillborn after 24 weeks of pregnancy.
Employees have this right from the day they start their job, and it must be taken in the 56 weeks following their child’s death. If more than one child dies, parents are entitled to two weeks leave for each child.
Workers are not entitled to statutory leave, but they may be entitled to statutory pay for any time they take off.
Who can take Parental Bereavement Pay?
Parents are entitled to two weeks of Parental Bereavement Pay if they:
- were employed when their child died:
- worked for their employer for at least 26 weeks on the Saturday before their child’s death, and
- earn on average at least £120 per week (gross).
Parental Bereavement Pay is paid at the flat rate or 90% of average weekly earnings, whichever is lowest.
How to take Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay
Parents can choose to take either one or two weeks of leave and/or pay. The weeks can be taken at different times or in a single block of two weeks. The leave must start and end within 56 weeks of the date of the child’s death.
Employer cannot refuse, postpone or amend the dates chosen by the employee.
To give notice to take Parental Bereavement Pay, employees/workers must give their employer notice confirming their name, the date of the child’s death (or stillbirth), and their relationship to the child. The notice does not need to be in writing, unless the employer requests it.
Notice should be given before the start of the leave period, or no more than 28 days after the first day of the period if it was not reasonably practicable to give it before the start of the leave period.
To give notice to take Parental Bereavement Leave, parents must also tell their employer when they want their leave to start, whether they are taking one or two weeks of leave, and the date their child died. The notice does not have to be in writing, but it is a good idea to put it in writing.
The rules for giving notice for Bereavement Leave depend on how much time has passed since the child’s death (see below).
Taking leave within 8 weeks of the child’s death
If it’s within 8 weeks of the child’s death, an employee can start their leave as soon as they give notice. They can give notice on the first day of leave as long as it’s before they are due to start working. If they have already come to work, statutory leave and pay will start the following day.
Employees can cancel their leave as long as they inform their employer before the leave starts. Any cancelled leave can be taken again, as long as the employee gives notice again.
Taking leave after the first 8 weeks
If the leave is to be taken after the first 8 weeks after the child’s death, the employee must give one weeks’ notice to take the leave, and also if they would like to cancel the leave. Any cancelled leave can be taken later by giving notice.
I am writing to let you know that [my child passed away on DATE] OR [I had a still birth after 24 weeks of pregnancy on DATE] and to give you notice that I am taking Parental Bereavement Leave [and Pay].
I am taking [ONE/TWO] weeks of leave [and pay]. I would like my leave [and pay] to start on [DATE] and end on [DATE].
I confirm that I meet the eligibility criteria of a bereaved parent. I am the child’s [RELATIONSHIP TO CHILD].
This advice applies in England, Wales and Scotland. If you live in another part of the UK, the law may differ. Please call our helpline for more details
If you have further questions and would like to contact our advice team please use our advice contact form below or call us.