Parents who suffer the devastating loss of a child will be entitled to 2 weeks’ statutory leave.
Parents who suffer the devastating loss of a child will be entitled to 2 weeks’ statutory leave, Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom announced today as she laid new regulations in Parliament.
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, irrespective of how long they have worked for their employer.
This is the most generous offer on parental bereavement pay and leave in the world, set to take effect from April.
Parents will be able to take the leave as either a single block of 2 weeks, or as 2 separate blocks of one week each taken at different times across the first year after their child’s death. This means they can match their leave to the times they need it most, which could be in the early days or over the first anniversary.
Lucy Herd said:
In the immediate aftermath of a child dying, parents have to cope with their own loss, the grief of their wider family, including other children, as well as a vast amount of administrative paperwork and other arrangements. A sudden or accidental death may require a post-mortem or inquest; there is a funeral to arrange; and there are many other organisations to contact, from schools to benefit offices.
When I started this campaign 10 years ago after the death of my son Jack, I always hoped that a positive change would happen in his memory. Knowing that nearly 10 years of campaigning has helped create ‘Jack’s Law’ is the most wonderful feeling, but it is bittersweet at the same time. I am so grateful to all those involved who have helped make this possible. I was told many times that I would not succeed but Jack’s Law will now ensure that bereaved parents are better protected in the future.’
Kevin Hollinrake MP, the sponsor of the original Private Member’s Bill, said:
Losing a child is every parent’s worst fear, but no-one could ever fully understand the utter devastation of such a loss. Whilst most employers are compassionate and generous in these situations, some are not, so I was delighted to be able to help make leave for bereaved parents a legal right.’
Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said:
There can be few worse experiences in life than the loss of a child and I am proud that this government is delivering ‘Jack’s Law’, making us the first country in the world to do so.
When it takes effect, Jack’s Law will be a fitting testament to the tireless efforts of Lucy Herd, alongside many charities, to give parents greater support.
The right to parental bereavement leave and pay makes the UK one of a very few countries worldwide to offer such support, and the first to offer a full 2 weeks. It will come into force on 6 April 2020, subject to Parliamentary approval of the legislation being laid today. Parents employed in a job for 6 months or more will also be able to claim statutory pay for this period, in line with the approach for other parental entitlements, such as paternity leave and pay.