Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018
The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018 has received Royal Assent.
The Act provides the authority for the Secretary of State to introduce Regulations to provide bereaved parents with time off; and provides the framework within which the Regulations should be framed. The Government has said it anticipates introducing the Regulations by April 2020. So there is nothing to panic about right now. Rather you need to be aware of what’s coming, in order to plan for it.
We genuinely hope that none of your employees suffer a child bereavement, but it does happen and your response will often help them deal with the hurt.
We need to await the Regulations before we know exactly what employees will be entitled to but for now the following points are made: -
Who will the Regulations apply to?
The Regulations will need to define ‘Parent’, as the Act provides that the definition of ‘Parent’ could be framed by reference to the employee’s care of the child before the child’s death. This means that it does not have to be limited to the biological parents but can encompass adopted parents and/or the partner of a parent who has provided care for the child.
A ‘Child’ will be defined as being under the age of 18. The Act also provides that the Regulations will apply where there has been a still birth after 24 weeks of pregnancy.
What will the Regulations provide?
Statutory Parental Bereavement Leave (“SPBL”)
The Regulations will need to include the extent of the employee’s entitlement and when leave can be taken.
The Act provides that the leave entitlement to be ‘at least’ 2 weeks and that it must be taken before the end of a period of at least 56 days beginning with the date of the child’s death. There is no suggestion that taking the leave will be compulsory.
When taking SPBL, the terms and conditions of employment will continue, except the terms and conditions relating to remuneration.
The Act requires the Regulations to provide:
Details of what notices need to be given
What evidence needs to be produced
Details of procedures to be followed by both Employer and Employee
What records need to be maintained
Consequences of failing to adhere to the above.
Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay (“SPBP”)
To qualify for SPBP, the Act provides that the employee must:
The Act provides that the amount of SPBP will be either a fixed rate or an earnings related weekly rate (e.g. percentage of earnings) as prescribed by Regulations (which may also prescribe different rates for different cases).
SPBP will be payable for a prescribed number of weeks within the qualifying period.
The Regulations will need to define the prescribed number of weeks, which must be not less than two weeks; and the Regulations will need to define the Qualifying Period, which, according to the Act, must secure that it is a period of at least 56 days beginning with the child’s death.
When the Regulations are published we will provide an update to this Information Update.
Let’s just hope none of your employees suffer a child bereavement and are required to ask for Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay.