Parental Bereavement
Sentient Group Ltd
Info Update 2020/04                                                         Issue Date: 25/02/2020
Parental Bereavement
Bereavement Rights for Employees
Parents who suffer stillbirth or the loss of a child will be entitled to two weeks’ statutory parental bereavement leave (SPBL) under new Regulations that come into force from 6th April 2020, while those with six months’ service will also be entitled to statutory pay (SPBP).

The Regulations are known as “Jack’s Law” in memory of Jack Herd whose mother Lucy campaigned for mandatory leave for grieving parents. The full titles are:
  • Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018
  • Parental Bereavement Leave Regulations 2020
  • The Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay (General) Regulations 2020

It goes without saying that we genuinely hope that none of your employees need to request Parental Bereavement Leave, but unfortunately it may happen. You will need to deal with any request sensitively and your response will often help them deal with the hurt. The Regulations are complex, and your employee may need guidance as to their entitlement and this Information Update aims to summarise who is entitled to take SPBL, when and in what circumstances entitlement arises.

Implementation Date
The Regulations come into force on 6th April 2020 and therefore apply to the bereavement of a Child on, or after the 6th April 2020. A ‘Child’ is defined as being under the age of 18. The Regulations also apply where a child is stillborn after 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Irrespective of their length of service with their employer, the Parent is entitled to 2 weeks SPBL. The Parent can take either:
  • 1 consecutive period of two weeks; or
  • 2 non-consecutive periods of 1 week.

The Parent must notify their Employer that they intend to take SPBL. The Parent must provide the employer with:
  • The date of the Child’s death;
  • The date on which they intend a period of SPBL to begin; and
  • Whether they intend to take one week or two weeks

If the SPBL is to be taken within the period of 56 days (starting with the date of the Child’s death), the Parent must notify the Employer before they are due to start work on the first day of SPBL; or as soon as reasonably practicable.

If the SPBL is to be taken after the expiry of the 56 day period, but within a period of 56 weeks (starting from the date of the Child’s death), the Parent must give the Employer at least one week’s notice before SPBL is due to start.

A Parent who takes SPBL should not be dismissed or subject to a detriment as a consequence of taking SPBL.

Who can take this leave?
Briefly the Employee who is entitled to take SPBL is the child’s parent, adoptive parent, surrogate parent and partner of the parent. There are however complex definitions in this respect and if you are unsure you should seek advice.

The above deals with the entitlement to leave. We now go on to examine the regulations as to whether the Leave is with pay.

Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay (SPBP)
To qualify for SPBP, the Act provides that the employee must:
  • have 26 weeks’ service as at the ‘Relevant Week’. The ‘Relevant Week’ means the week immediately before the one in which the child dies;
  • have, in the preceding 8-week period, earned above the Lower Earnings Limit.

The weekly pay entitlement is the lower of the following two amounts:
  • £151.20;
  • 90% of the normal weekly earnings

The daily rate is calculated as one-seventh of the weekly rate, and if that calculation includes a fraction of a penny, the payment shall be rounded up to the nearest whole number of pence.

We understand HMRC will add a calculator for SPBP to its Basic PAYE tools and will include guidance on manual calculations.

Whilst we hope you never need to apply these Regulations, if you need advice on this issue, or any other matter, please contact us on 03456 446006.
The advice and comment in this update is not meant to be an authoritative statement of the law. The articles and summaries should not be applied to any specific set of facts and circumstances without seeking further advice. Whilst every care is taken to ensure that the content is correct Sentient cannot accept responsibility for the accuracy of statements made nor the result of any actions taken by individuals after reading such.
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