The death of a child is always a traumatic event. To help parents through this difficult time, a new form of statutory leave, Parental Bereavement Leave (PBL), is planned to be introduced from 6th April 2020. This will entitle parents who lose a child (defined as from 24 weeks gestation up to 18 years of age) to up to two weeks of leave. It will be possible to take these as a single block or two separate weeks. This leave will have to be taken within 56 weeks of the death, the wide period acknowledging that some parents will feel the need for time away from work on the anniversary as well as soon after the event. 

Parents may also be eligible for Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay (SPBP) as well. The conditions for receiving this mirror the conditions for Statutory Maternity Pay as follows:

• The parent must have been employed for at least 26 weeks at the relevant week (the week before the event).

• They must have average weekly earnings equal to or more than the Lower Earnings Level (currently £118 per week) in the relevant period (8 weeks ending in the relevant week).

• They must give the employer notice in writing within 28 days of the first period of leave or as soon as reasonably practicable if this cannot be met.

• Complete a declaration which includes:

  • The name of the person claiming SPBP
  • The date of the death
  • The period or periods that SPBP is to be paid.

The entitlement covers all of the following so is not restricted to biological parents.  It can be:

• The child’s parents.

• Adoptive parents with a formal court adoption order.

• Adoptive parents without a formal court order from the placement date.

• Parents of children born to a surrogate after a formal court parental order has been made

• Partners of a bereaved parent where they lived with the parent and child in an enduring family relationship.

• The child’s “parent in fact”. A “parent in fact” is a person who does not meet any of the above criteria, but who has had the child living with them for at least 4 weeks and had day-to-day responsibility for them. 

SPBP will be at the lower of £148.68 per week or 90% of average weekly earnings. All employers will be able to reclaim 92% of amounts paid. Small employers (those whose Class 1 National Insurance bill in the last complete tax year was £45,000 or less) will be able to claim 103% of the amounts paid.

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