British parents who lose child entitled to bereavement leave

Queen Elizabeth II.

London,   The first British government law to allow paid leave from work for parents who suffer the death of a child was given royal assent on Thursday by Queen Elizabeth II.

The new law to support parents affected by the tragedy of childhood mortality is expected to come into force in 2020, and was welcomed by charities offering help to bereaved moms and dads.

The Parental Leave and Pay Bill will give employed parents who lose a child under 18 years of age two weeks’ leave when it comes into force, said a press release by the UK government.

The new act will give all employed parents a day-one right to 2 weeks’ leave if they lose a child under the age of 18, or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy. Employed parents will also be able to claim pay for this period, subject to meeting eligibility criteria, the release stated.

“This law makes Parental Bereavement Leave a legal right for the first time in the UK’s history. Losing a child is an unimaginable trauma. I am delighted we have reached this important milestone which so many have campaigned for,” said Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst.

Will Quince, a member of Parliament, said: “I am delighted that parents in this awful situation will now have the protection of paid leave enshrined in law, and we should be very proud that the UK now has one of the best worker’s rights in this area in the world.”

Steven Wibberley, Chief Executive of Cruse Bereavement Care charity, said: “We are delighted that this bill has been approved as it will make a huge difference to bereaved parents whose lives have been shattered by the death of a child.

“It is important that parents are given time to grieve in the aftermath of a child’s death and this new law recognizes this,” Wibberley said.