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This week, I secured and led an adjournment debate on the need for statutory paid bereavement leave for all employees who suffer the loss of a close family member or partner.

Bereavement is unfortunately a part of life, a fact made all too clear by the ongoing pandemic, and many of us need time off to grieve for the loss of our loved ones without worrying about our job security or loss of pay. While many businesses are often supportive and accommodating of their grieving employees, this is not always the case. Those in low-paid and insecure work are less likely to be offered this discretionary time off and are less able to absorb the cost of unpaid leave, which is grossly unfair.

Such a measure is often opposed due to cost factors, yet recent research by the charity Sue Ryder has found that grief costs the UK economy £23 billion per year, and the Treasury nearly £8 billion per year, due to the effect on productivity and the knock-on effect this can have on public services. Paid statutory bereavement leave has huge support across the UK, and it is time we stopped relying on employer’s discretion and enshrined this compassionate leave in law.

You can watch my speech below.


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