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Jacks law will bring paid bereavement leave for parents

The UK is set to lead the way in supporting bereaved parents when the Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Regulations come into force on 6 April 2020.

Parents who have lost a child, under the age of 18, or suffered a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy, will be automatically entitled to a minimum of 2 weeks paid bereavement leave, regardless of how long they have been employed.

The new law, which will be known as ‘Jacks Law’ comes after a 10 year campaign by Lucy Herd, following the death of her son, Jack.

Lucy commented: “In the immediate aftermath of a child dying, parents have to cope with their own loss, the grief of the wider family, including other children, as well as a vast amount of administrative paperwork and other arrangements. A sudden or accidental death may require a post-mortem or inquest; there is a funeral to arrange and there are many other organisations to contact, from schools to benefit offices.”

Alison Penny, co-ordinator of the National Bereavement Alliance, added: “Many parents are forced to make hard choices about returning to work at a desperately difficult time following their child’s death, fearing loss of pay or job security if they take time off.

We welcome the significant step the government has made in introducing minimum provision for parents, and would like to see employers demonstrate a genuine commitment to grieving colleagues by treating them compassionately and with the support they need.”

Sarah Naylor, employment law specialist at Atherton Godfrey, commented: “Jacks Law will make a huge difference to grieving parents.

While some employers are already generous in these situations, some are not. So, it is very important that all employers are aware of this change in the law.

The new 2-week entitlement will be in addition to existing parental rights and leave entitlements and will come in to force alongside a raft of new employment reforms.”

The right to paid parental bereavement leave will make the UK one of only a few countries in the world to offer this kind of support. The government estimates it will support around 10,000 parents a year who have to cope with the trauma of losing their child.

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