Parents who lose a child will be entitled to receive two weeks’ paid bereavement leave under new government rules. Expected to come into force in April this year, it will cover all working parents who lose a child under the age of 18 or have a stillbirth, irrespective of the length of service.

The government announcement followed a campaign by a grieving mother after her 23-month old drowned in a pond in 2010 and his father was only allowed three days off work following the death of his child. At that time and at present there is no statutory right to paid time off for bereavement.

Existing family-friendly rights include:-

LEAVE AND PAY

MATERNITY

  • Minimum 2 weeks’ leave after the baby is born (or 4 weeks’ leave if the employee works in a factory).
  • Maximum 52 weeks made up of Ordinary (26 weeks) and Additional (further 26 weeks) Maternity Leave.
  • Statutory Maternity Pay is paid for up to 39 weeks made up of 90% of average weekly earnings for the first 6 weeks and £148.68 or 90% of average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for the next 33 weeks.

PATERNITY

  • 1 whole week or 2 consecutive weeks paid Paternity Leave within 56 days of a child’s birth or placement for adoption.
  • The statutory weekly rate of Paternity Pay is £148.68, or 90% of average weekly earnings (whichever is lower).

SHARED PARENTAL

  • Eligible parents can share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay between them in the first year after their child is born or placed with their family.
  • Statutory Shared Parental Pay is paid at a rate of £148.68 or 90% of average weekly earnings, whichever is lower.

ADOPTION

  • Only 1 person in a couple can take adoption leave. The other partner could take Paternity Leave instead.
  • Maximum 52 weeks made up of Ordinary (26 weeks) and Additional (further 26 weeks) Adoption Leave.
  • Statutory Adoption Pay is paid for up to 39 weeks made up of 90% of average weekly earnings for the first 6 weeks and £148.68 or 90% of average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for the next 33 weeks.

REQUEST FOR FLEXIBLE WORKING

  • Employees can make one statutory application a year for flexible working if they have worked for an employer for the last 26 weeks.
  • Flexible working would include job sharing, part-time, working from home, flexitime.

The new statutory right will, of course, be a starting point and it is up to the employer to decide whether to mirror or enhance it as is the case with the application by employers of all statutory rights. Employers do not need to strictly apply legislative changes but implementing any family-friendly rights that go beyond the employer’s statutory duties will need to be carefully considered.

If you have any queries about this legislative development or wish to contact us for any other family-friendly rights related advice, please do so on 0113 322 9222.

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