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From April 2020, parents who suffer the loss of a child under the age of 18, or a stillbirth, are entitled to two weeks’ paid leave at the rate of statutory bereavement pay.
The change is expected to help around 10,000 families a year and, according to Government ministers, will be the most generous parental bereavement pay in the world.
It follows a campaign instigated by Lucy Herd whose son, Jack, died in an accident aged 23 months. Jack’s father was only allowed three days off work, which included one day to attend his son’s funeral.
Lucy Herd said: “In the immediate aftermath of a child dying, parents have to cope with their own loss, the grief of the 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.
“When I started this campaign 10 years ago, after the death of my son Jack, I always hoped that a positive change would happen in his memory. Knowing that nearly 10 years of campaigning has helped create Jack’s law is the most wonderful feeling, but it is bittersweet at the same time.”
It is worth noting that this new statutory right does not extend to bereavement following the death of other close family members such as a spouse or parent. Although employers are not legally obliged to pay employees while they are on bereavement leave, some may choose to do so.