Prior to 2018, whether organisations provided time off work as bereavement leave when employees suffered the loss of a child, and any payment for this leave period, was an individual decision made within each business.
Following campaigning by a number of pressure groups, and the introduction of a Private Members’ Bill, legislation introducing leave for bereaved parents received Royal Assent in September 2018.
The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018 introduces the framework for this employment right. The Department for Business. Energy and Industrial Strategy have released a response to a consultation on this right, revealing more details on how this will operate.
In January 2020, it was confirmed that the right to take parental bereavement leave would come into effect from 6 April 2020. Draft Regulations, expected to confirm how this right will work in practice, were laid before Parliament and later became statutory provisions.
These resources will be continually reviewed and updated.
The government has outlined that despite the initial closure of the furlough scheme, due on 30 June, those who have been on parental bereavement leave will still be eligible to be furloughed.
As was previously known, whilst the Job Retention Scheme has been extended until October, claims from July 1 onwards will be restricted to those who are already on the scheme. Essentially, this means that staff must be furloughed from 10 June in order to benefit from it going forward. This will enable the introduction of flexible furlough in July.
However, the government has confirmed that parents on statutory parental bereavement leave, who return to work after a long period of absence, will still be able to be furloughed and therefore join the scheme past the 10 June cut-off date. This is to avoid working parents facing hardships as a result of their family leave.