New in HR for 2020? Bereavement leave for parents

A new law has been proposed in Westminster to provide paid leave for parents who lose a youngster under the age of 18

A new law has been proposed in Westminster to provide paid leave for parents who suffer the devastation of a child under the age of 18 dying. The UK Government is backing the proposal.
The Parental Bereavement Bill, which would be likely to become law in 2020, gives parents who lose a child under the age of 18 the right to two weeks of paid leave. Statutory parental bereavement pay would be available to employees who have at least 26 weeks of continuous service. Small employers would be able to reclaim the statutory bereavement pay and larger organisations could claim most of it back.
A recent study found that a quarter of workers who suffered bereavement of a loved one took no time off. And although some may prefer to keep busy and feel that remaining at work would be best for them, others may require this period to grieve.
There is currently no legal requirement for employers to give employees paid time off when they lose a child. However, we expect most employers would naturally act compassionately and flexibly throughout such a difficult time, allowing a bereaved employee to take some paid time off if they feel they need to.
It is important for grieving parents to feel supported by their employer if they experience the ordeal of losing a child. Returning to work before they are ready is unlikely to be productive for either the employee or the employer.
If you find yourself having to manage an employee who loses a child, ensure that your communication arrangements enable you to find out what they need to help them cope. For now, it is still down to you to decide what kind of paid leave, if any, you offer.
These awful events strike occasionally and sometimes they are unforeseen. If you need support in managing an employee who suffers such bereavement, then The HR Dept can provide advice and, if necessary, a structured plan to help your employee find their feet at work again.
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Ian heads up the HR Dept Edinburgh & the Lothians team. The HR Dept specialises in helping SMEs with everything to with employment, through a local and personal service delivering practical and pragmatic advice and support. With nearly 30 years HR experience, Ian has a wealth of experience in helping businesses to ensure success through their people, be legally compliant and handle tricky people issues. As a business owner himself, Ian understands the challenges that come with running and growing a business. He is known for his ability to explain complex concepts simply and to make learning fun and enjoyable.