After many years of campaigning, the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018 is due to come into force in the new tax year, meaning that parents will be entitled to a day-one right to statutory leave of 2 weeks if they suffer the loss of a child under the age of 18 or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy commencing on or after 6 April 2020.
Key aspects of the provisions include:
Employees will be entitled to take leave and receive pay as a single block of two weeks or discontinuously as 2 separate blocks of 1 week each.
The entitlement must be taken within 56 weeks, starting with the date of the child’s death and can start on any day of the week. If the loss of more one child is experienced the entitlement is granted for each child.
Employed parents will be able to claim pay for this period, subject to meeting similar eligibility criteria associated with existing average weekly earnings rules and calculations to those for Statutory Maternity and Adoption Pay.
Payment will be at the statutory payment rate in force for the year (currently £148.68 per week or 90% of average weekly earnings if less). Increases will be applied each tax year in line with other statutory parental payments.
As with other statutory payments (excluding Statutory Sick Pay), 92% of the Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay can be reclaimed from HMRC via your payroll reporting.
Employers will need to build this new legislation into their existing absence policies and will also need to consider how they will address any technical measures surrounding the extended definition of ‘parents’, as the term ‘parent’ can in certain circumstances include grandparents if there is evidence that they have been looking after the child in place of the child’s parents.
By Katy Christiansen, Payroll and Employment Taxes Senior Manager at Anderson Anderson & Brown LLP.
To find out more about Katy and the Payroll & Employment Taxes team, click here.