A Bill ensuring bereaved parents have the right to paid leave following the death of a child has been passed by Westminster today (Friday). Patricia Gibson, MP for North Ayrshire and Arran, has led on the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Bill for the SNP, and has welcomed the measures which now go forward for Royal Assent.
This new legislation allows bereaved parents a minimum of two weeks paid leave, taken in weekly blocks during a minimum of 56 days following the death of a child under 18 years of age.
Speaking on the issue, Mrs Gibson said:
“I am delighted this hugely important Bill has finally been passed. The life-changing event of a parent burying their child is now recognised in law and bereaved parents, for the first time ever, have some protection in the workplace.
“It was simply not acceptable that, when faced with the awful tragedy of losing a child, there was no legal requirement for employers to provide paid time off. It is such a life-shattering experience that leave for bereaved parents could not just be left to the goodwill of employers.
“I would have liked the Bill to have gone further, and I am disappointed my amendments providing more flexibility in the time of when leave can be taken and extending the right to bereavement leave to all parents, regardless of deceased’s age, did not pass. Nevertheless, I am pleased to have gained the inclusion of parents of stillborn babies in the legislation, and to have received assurances from the UK Government over the rights of those working variable hours and people who are self-employed.
“The death of a child is the worst thing a parent can face. The magnitude of such a loss cannot be prepared for, and one never truly recovers from it. The passing of this Bill is an important recognition of that loss, and will provide much needed support and protection for people in this most terrible situation.”
A consultation on the provisions of the Bill is open until 8th June 2018 and can be found by clicking here.