From 6 April 2020, parents who experience the loss of a child or experience stillbirth will be entitled automatically to two weeks’ statutory parental bereavement leave.

The Government has confirmed the change in employment law, and it will be known as Jack’s Law in memory of Jack Herd, whose mother had campaigned on this issue and argued that parents should be entitled leave from work with pay after going through this kind of experience.

The Act will put in place a statutory right to a minimum of two weeks’ leave for all parents who are employed and lose a child under the age of 18 or experience stillbirth after the 24th week of pregnancy.

One of the notable things about this new law is that it will apply and be held as a right for employees, regardless of how long they have worked for their current employer.

Unlike other employment rights, this will give prevent some parents from having this right not apply to them because they haven’t been in employment long enough.

Jack Herd drowned in 2010, and after this happened, his father was only allowed to take 3 days off with paid leave, after that, it would have to be unpaid leave.

Because of this experience, the parents began campaigned on the issue and arguing that parents should be entitled to more time off in the event of experiencing such an unspeakable tragedy in the family.

Mother of Jack, Lucy Herd said: “In the immediate aftermath of a child dying, parents have to cope with their own loss, the grief of their 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”

There are roughly 7,500 child deaths and stillbirths that occur each and every year in the UK.

Meaning, lots of people will benefit from this change in the law and won’t have to force themselves back into work sooner than necessary or go through financial hardship as a result of not being entitled to paid leave.

The legislation will also apply to anyone with parental responsibilities.

That means the new law will also cover adoptive parents, people fostering to adopt and any other kind of legal guardian.

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About the author 

James Rowland

James is the Commercial Director at Neathouse Partners and regularly writes articles surrounding issues in HR & Employment Law. Outside of the office, James is a keen Cricketer, playing in the Cheshire League for Nantwich CC. He also loves going to watch his football team, Crewe Alexandra. Feel free to connect with James on LinkedIn.

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