In September 2018, a new workplace right to paid leave for bereaved parents was officially enshrined in law. It is expected to come into force in 2020 and is the first law of its kind in the UK intended to support those affected by the tragedy of childhood mortality.
The new Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Act will give all employed parents a day one right to 2 weeks’ leave if they lose a child under the age of 18, or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy. Employed parents will also be able to claim pay for this period, subject to meeting eligibility criteria.
Whilst in practice, most employers do recognise a situation that is very difficult for an employee, there is no statutory right to paid compassionate or bereavement leave currently. Employers are obliged to provide a reasonable period of unpaid leave for dependants. This leave is designed for dealing with immediate matters required such as funeral arrangements and the financial matters of the deceased. It does not recognise the welfare needs of an employee following the death of an immediate family member which will vary depending on the circumstances.
Some terms and conditions do provide for compassionate or bereavement leave, paid or unpaid and employers may also refer to flexible working procedures or parental leave to support their employees following a bereavement. Remember that everyone is different, some may only require a few days to deal with matters. Other may require longer and obtain a GP Fit Note advising that they are not fit for work following a bereavement.
SAM can help track absence but also has the ability to allow for exceptional circumstances like Bereavement Leave. If you would like a demo of the SAM software get in touch on 01924 907319. If you need any guidance or help with a situation involving absence or welfare, please get in touch with our sister company FusionHR on 01924 827869.