Time off for parents to grieve

Legislation that will provide a statutory right to time off for employees who lose a child has been praised for providing working parents with ‘reassurance’ at a difficult time.

The new law will create a right for parents to take two weeks of paid time off in the event of the death of a child under 18.

Employees will have a right to the leave regardless of how long they have worked for an employer and will have a right to pay provided they have at least 26 weeks’ continuous service. Small businesses will be able to recover all of the pay from government while large businesses will be able to reclaim most of it, although the bill does not currently state what rate of pay will apply.

At present, the law does not expressly provide any right to time off following the death of a child, although the Employment Rights Act allows employees to take a ‘reasonable’ amount of unpaid time off to deal with an emergency involving a dependant.

If the law is enacted as planned, it will make the UK one of the most generous countries for entitlement to time off after the death of a child.

A survey run on behalf of Child Bereavement UK revealed that almost a third of those who had experienced the death of a loved one in the last five years felt they were not treated with compassion by their employer.

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