The Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Regulations, which will be known as Jack’s Law in memory of Jack Herd whose mother Lucy campaigned tirelessly on the issue, will implement a statutory right to a minimum of 2 weeks’ leave for all employed parents if they lose a child under the age of 18, or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy.
This is a statutory right for employees and is irrespective of how long they have worked for their employer. Many employers already react sympathetically to these difficult situations and what Jack’s Law does is brings some clarity by setting a minimum statutory time frame and payment system. Helping individuals and families when they need it most.
So what should you be doing before the Regulations come in force in April 2020?
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1. Update Your Policy on Bereavement Leave
The first thing companies need to do is update their HR Policies to reflect the upcoming changes.
Parents will be able to take the leave as either a single block of 2 weeks, or as 2 separate blocks of one week, these can then be taken at different times across the first year after their child’s death. This helps to match the leave to when it’s needed most, in those early days or when the first anniversary falls due.
The right to Parental Bereavement Leave (PBL) applies to all employed parents who lose a child under the age of 18 or suffer a stillbirth (from 24 weeks of pregnancy), irrespective of how long they have been with their employer. This leave is a ‘day-one’ employment right.
As well as birth parents, the entitlement will be available to adults with parental responsibility, for example: adoptive parents, individuals who are fostering to adopt, legal guardians; and many foster parents, although emergency foster care may not be covered.
2. Understand the Bereavement Leave Payments
Parents with at least 26 weeks’ continuous service with their employer and weekly average earnings over the lower-earning limit (£118 per week for 2019 to 2020) will also be entitled to Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay (SPBP), paid at the statutory rate of £148.68 per week (for 2019 to 2020), or 90% of average weekly earnings where this is lower.
3. Communicate the Bereavement Policy Changes
After you completed the above policy review you will also need to communicate to your employees about the changes and inform them of the updated Privacy Statements/Policies. Just like with any other changes in law and/or when introducing or updating policies you need to make this information available to your workforce.
Further details of the parental bereavement leave regulations will be covered by Lighter HR after the government publishes further guidance.
We also offer consultancy services to support you as you embark on the compliance journey and to guide you through it. You can find all of the information about the services we offer here on our website or you can always just give us a call on 0203 319 1649 and speak to one of our consultants.