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Farrer & Co | Bereaved Parents’ Rights – New Bill

It's hard to imagine the pain of losing a child but on top of that employees often have the added worry of whether they are allowed time off, how much time off and whether they will be paid for time off.

A private members' bill, the Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill 2017, was introduced on the 19th July by Kevin Hollinrake MP. Although it is a private members' bill, it is supported by the Government and meets a Conservative manifesto commitment of "bereavement support" for employees.

The details of the bill are not yet known but a consultation with employers, employee representatives and campaigners on behalf of families will begin this summer and a second reading of the bill is due on 20th October 2017.

The bill will seek to ensure that grieving parents in employment receive paid leave to grieve away from the workplace.

Currently, bereaved parents are treated in the same as any other bereaved employee (save for mothers who give birth to still born babies who are entitled to maternity rights). These employees have to rely on their employer's compassionate leave policy but note that some employers have adopted bereavement policies. Employees may also ask for flexible working for a period depending on their circumstances.
Subject to the employer's policy, employers normally do not have to pay compassionate leave but many choose to do so.

The ACAS publication Managing Bereavement in The Workplace a Good Practice Guide Is filled with practical information such as helping employees cope with bereavement, consulting with bereaved employees about the level of contact they would like to maintain with the employer or colleagues whilst they are off and details of charities that can support grieving employees.

Finally, keep in mind that employees who hold religious beliefs, may have certain requirements of their faith in relation to time off for mourning and funeral arrangements.

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