Jack’s Law: Statutory parental bereavement leave rules to come into force from April 2020

Michael McAllister

Michael McAllister

Director & Head of Payroll Services

New rules have been announced by the UK Government entitling parents who suffer the loss of a child to two weeks’ statutory parental bereavement leave (SPBL) from April 2020. Parents employed in a job for six months or more will also be able to claim statutory pay for the two-week period. It is estimated that the new regulations will help to support around 10,000 parents a year.

The Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Regulations will grant working parents the statutory right to a minimum of two weeks’ leave if they suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy or lose a child under the age of 18, regardless of how long they have worked for their employer. These new regulations will be known as ‘Jack’s Law’ in memory of Jack Herd, whose mother Lucy has been campaigning for changes to bereavement law since 2010.

The UK is now one of very few countries in the world to offer the right to parental bereavement leave and pay, and the first to offer two weeks. The new legislation will come into force on 6 April 2020, subject to Parliamentary approval.

Parents will be able to take the leave as either a full fortnight or two separate weeks during the first year after their bereavement. This allows them to use their leave at the times they need it most, which may be directly after their loss or over poignant dates such as birthdays or the first anniversary. 

In addition to SPBL, parents with at least 26 weeks’ continuous service and weekly average earnings over the lower earnings limit (£118 per week for 2019/20) will also be entitled to statutory parental bereavement pay (SPBP). This will be paid at the rate of £148.68 per week (for 2019/20), or 90% of average weekly earnings if this is lower, and administered by employers in the same way as existing family statutory payments.

The entitlement will be available to both birth parents and adults with parental responsibility, such as adoptive parents; legal guardians; individuals who are fostering to adopt; legal guardians; and many foster parents. Emergency foster care may not be covered. 

Contact us

If you’d like more information on the new regulations, get in touch with your usual Johnston Carmichael adviser or contact me: Michael.McAllister@jcca.co.uk.