From 6 April 2020, all employed parents will have the right to two weeks’ leave if they lose a child under the age of 18, or suffer a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy, irrespective of their length of service. Employed parents may also qualify for two weeks’ statutory bereavement pay (SPBP).
All employed parents and adults with ‘parental responsibility’ will qualify. Generally speaking a primary carer of a child will have parental responsibility for that child so this can include adopters, foster parents and guardians, as well as close relatives or family friends that have informally assumed responsibility for the care of a child in the absence of parents. In the case of female employees who suffer a stillbirth after 24 weeks, they will remain entitled to the normal maternity leave and pay, as will those mothers who lose a child during maternity leave.
Leave is taken in a single block or two blocks of one week within the 56 weeks following the child’s death.
To qualify for SPBP, an employee must have at least 26 weeks’ continuous service and weekly average earnings over the lower earnings limit (currently £118 per week), for the eight weeks before the death and the statutory rate is (currently £151.20) or 90 per cent of average weekly earnings – whichever is lower.