At present, all employees have the right to take a reasonable amount of unpaid time off work to deal with an emergency, including the death of a dependent. Employers are currently not legally required to provide paid leave for grieving parents.

However, from the 6th April 2020, employees will have a legal entitlement to two weeks’ paid bereavement leave for working parents who lose a child under the age of 18.

In summary, the introduction of new legislation will provide:-

  1. Parental Bereavement Leave (‘PBL’) for a period of two weeks for all working parents upon the death of a child aged under 18, or a stillbirth (from 24 weeks of pregnancy onwards); and
  2. Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay (‘SPBP’) for all employees taking PBL. This will be paid at £151.20 per week or 90% of their normal weekly earnings, whichever is lower, subject to employees meeting qualifying criteria (see below). SPBP is to be paid in the same way as other statutory payments, such as maternity pay.

So what is the qualifying criteria?

PBL is available to employees from their first day of employment.). Employees eligible for PBL includes:-

  • A parent or intended parent of a child that has died (intended parent includes parents using a surrogate);
  • A parent ‘in fact’ (employee lives with the child in their own home, with day-to-day responsibility for the deceased child’s care );
  • A parent who is the child’s ‘natural parent’;
  • A person with whom the child has been placed for adoption, for so long as that placement has not been disrupted;
  • An adopter who the child was living with; and
  • The partner of the child’s parent.

However, SPBP will only be paid to employees who have been continuously employed for 26 weeks prior to the death of the child. In addition, the employee must also have earned at least the lower earnings limit for 8 weeks prior to the PBL. Note, an employee who does not qualify for SPBP remains entitled to take unpaid PBL.

As a first step, we would advise that you update your staff handbooks and contracts of employment to include the new regulation, in addition to assuring that you have the appropriate HR processes in place to deal with this new right with effect from 6th April 2020.

If you, or your business have any queries on PBL or SPBP, please do not hesitate to contact Lloyd Clarke on 01206 239761 or email me at