Unusually this week I was in Westminster for a Friday sitting to lead for the SNP on the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Bill which passed with cross party support ensuring that, for the first time ever, parents who suffer the death of a child up to the age of 18 years old, will be guaranteed statutory leave of two weeks with pay.
This Bill has huge personal significance for me.
Currently when a parent faces such a tragedy any leave – paid or unpaid – is entirely at the discretion of employers. Whilst many employers are sympathetic and supportive in such situations, not all are. This is too important to leave to the discretion of employers and now, the law has recognised this by enshrining the right to employment leave for bereaved parents in law.
The Bill is not perfect. I was disappointed that the leave could not be taken by parents more flexibly and I wanted all parents’ rights in such circumstances to be recognised, regardless of the age of the son or daughter lost.
I am also delighted that this Bill will include parents of stillborn babies which is a huge step forwrd.
However, we made a good start today and a consultation on the Bill’s provisions is open until 8th June 2018 and can be found on the link below: