The Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill was published on the 13th October 2017 with its second reading having taken place on the 20th October 2017. The Bill follows on from the Parental Bereavement Leave (Statutory Entitlement) Bill from 2016-17 which was sponsored by Will Quince MP but failed to progress before the General Election.
The Bill is a Private Members’ Bill having been introduced by MP Kevin Hollindrake. The Government has backed this Bill and the Conservative Governments Manifesto prior to the 2017 General Election included a new entitlement for parental bereavement leave. The Bill therefore has a strong chance of becoming law.
If the Bill does become law then it would give the Secretary of State power to make regulations to give employees who lose a child below the age of 18 (including a still birth after 24 weeks) the right to:
- At least two weeks’ leave– if a parent loses more than one child they are entitled to leave in respect of each child regardless of their length of employment.
- At least two weeks’ statutory bereavement pay. Employees with at least 26 weeks’ service will be entitled to be paid a prescribed rate or 90% of their average earnings (whichever is lower). Employers will be able to reclaim some of the payments from the Government (or all of the payments depending on the size of the company).
- Employees will be protected from detriment, redundancy and dismissal as a result of them taking bereavement leave.
The provisions proposed to be implemented by the Bill when it becomes law do provide more rights than are currently available to employees in other countries. The next step in the legislative process is the Committee Stage and a date for this is yet to be announced. If the Bill passes through all of the legislative stages then the regulations are due to come into place in 2020.