From April 2020, employed parents are entitled to two weeks’ bereavement leave following the death of a child.
Who is it for?
Employed parents who have lost a child under 18 on or after 6 April 2020. It does not apply to workers or those who are self-employed.
It is a day 1 right, available to all employed parents and their partner, no matter how long they have been working for their employers.
This is also applicable to parents (and their partner) who suffer a stillbirth after the 24th week of pregnancy.
Others like grandparents may also be eligible if they can prove that they have been looking after the child in place of the child’s parents and will have provided day to day care for the child in their own home for a continuous period of at least four weeks ending with the child’s death (but not if they were paid for it – except in the case of foster parents who are eligible).
Parental bereavement leave is also available to adoptive parents, as long as the adoption placement has not been disrupted.
What is it?
Each parent will have the right to take up to 2 weeks off during the year following the death of their child. The weeks can be taken in 2 blocks of 1 week taken at different times or in a single block of 2 weeks. The employer will not be able to refuse, postpone or amend the dates chosen by the employee but the leave must be taken within 56 weeks starting with the day of the death of the child. The leave can start on any day of the week.
If the employee loses more than one child, they are entitled to a period of bereavement leave for each child.
If the employee is entitled an equivalent right under their employment contract, they cannot take both statutory parental bereavement leave and the contractual leave. However, they can choose which entitlement is more favourable, and take this. 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.
Will it be paid?
All parent employees will be entitled to the leave, but to be eligible to the pay, the parents must:
- have been employed for at least 6 months (26 weeks) at the date of the death of the child; and
- earn more than the lower earnings limit on average for the period of 8 weeks ending on the date of the death of the child.
It will be paid at the same statutory rate as maternity, paternity, shared parental and adoption pay per week. As with the amount of leave, your employment contract may be more generous than this, so you should check it to make sure you choose the best option.
What notice should you give?
During the first seven weeks, you need only inform your employer before you start work on your first day of absence, or if this isn’t possible as soon as you can. From weeks 8 to 56, you will need to give at least a week’s notice. The leave can be cancelled or rearranged with the same degree of notice.
To also claim parental bereavement pay, you will need to notify your employer that you meet the qualifying conditions for Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay within 28 days of the leave starting or, if this isn’t possible, as soon as you can.
Your notice to claim parental leave and pay will need to include the following:
- the name of the person claiming;
- the date of the child’s death (or date of birth for a stillborn child); and
- the date(s) that you want the period or periods of parental leave (and pay if applicable) to start and finish.
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.