The Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Act 2018 amended or inserted a number of provisions into the Employment Rights Act 1996 and the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992, providing powers to make regulations in relation to Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay for eligible parents.
Draft regulations, introducing “Jack’s Law” to a new legal right to 2 weeks’ paid bereavement leave, have now been laid to reflect these changes. They are expected to come into force on 6 April 2020.
Parental Bereavement Leave
The draft Parental Bereavement Leave Regulations 2020 introduces the entitlement that eligible parents may take a period of leave from employment, either one or two weeks. It is not necessary to take two consecutive weeks, but any period of parental bereavement leave must be taken within a 56-week period starting with the date of the child’s death.
The employee wishing to take parental bereavement leave must give a notice within specified deadlines, dependent on when that leave is to begin. It must specify the date of the child’s death; the date on which the period of parental leave is intended to begin; and the length of that period (i.e. one week or two). A notice may be cancelled by providing a further notice, which is again subject to the deadlines dependent on when leave is to begin.
However, once started, a period of parental bereavement leave cannot be cancelled. When on bereavement leave, an employee is still subject to the terms and conditions of their employment, other than remuneration, that would have applied if they had not been absent.
When considering rights under an “employment related benefit scheme” (such as a pension arrangement), the requirements for membership and payment of contributions by employer and employee reflect the current provisions applying to statutory and paid maternity leave.
Any employee taking bereavement leave is also entitled to return to the same job they had before that leave and has similar protections to females who are on maternity leave. If an employee’s contract already provides for bereavement leave, that employee faces the choice between their contractual and statutory entitlements. They cannot have both, and are therefore likely to select the one that is most beneficial to them.
Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay
The draft Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay (General) Regulations 2020 introduces entitlement to statutory parental bereavement pay whilst on statutory bereavement leave.
This is applicable for employees who have been employed for 26 weeks or more up to the Saturday before the week in which the child dies. A notice is again required, essentially within 28 days from the first day of the period in respect of which such pay is to be made.
It must specify the name of person claiming the statutory bereavement pay; the date of the child’s death; and declare that the employee meets one of the conditions for entitlement to statutory parental bereavement pay to apply.
The regulations indicate that for the 2020/21 tax year, the weekly rate of payment of statutory parental bereavement pay will be the smaller of £151.20 and broadly 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings averaged over an 8-week period before the death of the child.
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Note: The content of this Pensions Briefing should not be deemed as advice. No section of this Pensions Briefing, reporting or data should be considered a client specific, or a personal client recommendation.
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