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UK set to introduce ‘Jack’s Law’ – new legal right to paid parental bereavement leave

Thursday January 23rd, 2020

Parents who suffer the devastating loss of a child will be entitled to 2 weeks’ statutory leave.Government Opportunities

Working parents who lose a child under the age of 18 will get 2 weeks’ statutory leave

the new legal right to 2 weeks’ paid bereavement leave, to be called ‘Jack’s Law’, is a world first

parental bereavement leave is the first of a raft of new employment reforms to make the UK the best place in the world to work and to start a business

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.

Around 7,500 child deaths, including around 3,000 stillbirths, occur in the UK every year. The government estimates that this new entitlement will help to support around 10,000 parents a year.

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.

This new law arrives ahead of the government’s new Employment Bill, announced in the Queen’s Speech in December, which will introduce a raft of further measures to benefit workers and businesses including carer’s leave and neonatal pay.

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