UK Parental Bereavement Leave Legislation Expected to Come Into Force in 2020

    View Authors September 2018
    The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018 has received Royal Assent and is expected to come into force during 2020. It means that, for the first time, employers will be under a statutory obligation to provide leave for grieving parents. 

    The Employment Rights Act currently provides for employees to take a “reasonable” amount of unpaid time off work to deal with an emergency involving a dependant, including making arrangements following the death of a dependant. What is “reasonable” depends on the circumstances, but, in practice, the employer and employee agree the length of time off. Many employers also offer paid leave in such circumstances and so will be unaffected by the new legislation. 

    The Act amends the Employment Rights Act to provide that all employed parents will have a day-one right to two weeks’ leave if they lose a child under the age of 18 or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy. Bereaved parents will also be able to claim statutory parental bereavement pay during the leave (at the same rate as other forms of family-related leave, currently £145.18 a week), subject to meeting eligibility criteria, including that the employee must have at least 26 weeks’ continuous employment.

    The implementing legislation, when published, will provide more detailed information. Employers will then need to review and update their policies to reflect the new entitlement.