MSE News

New law to support families who suffer the loss of a child – what you need to know

The details of a new law giving paid leave to workers suffering the loss of a child have been set out by the Government.

The Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Act, which is expected to come into force in 2020, ensures bereaved employees who lose a child under the age of 18 will receive two weeks' leave and statutory pay.

And it will give the same rights to those who suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy.

See our What to do when someone dies guide for more information on help that is available.

How will the law work?

The Government has been running a consultation on the new law and has today published its response and announced further details about how it will work:

  • Leave can be taken either in one block or as two separate blocks of one week.

  • Leave and pay can be taken within a 56-week window from the child's death, so as to allow time for important moments such as anniversaries.

  • Notice requirements will be flexible so that leave can be taken without prior notice very soon after the child's death.

  • Employers will not be entitled to request a copy of the death certificate to use as evidence.

Foster parents, guardians and adopters will also be covered by the law.

What does the Government say?

Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst said: "Dealing with the loss of a child is an awful tragedy which we recognise people will deal with differently.

"It is important this new law is designed so that people are given the space and respect to grieve in their own way."