The government has introduced new legislation to give parents who have lost a child up to two weeks paid leave.

The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018 will entitle parents employed in a role for a minimum of 26 weeks the right to two weeks’ statutory parental bereavement pay if they lose a child under the age of 18 or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy. Employers will be able to reclaim some or all of the cost of the pay. The legislation received Royal Assent on Thursday 13th September; however the law is expected to come into force in 2020.

Currently under the Employment Rights Act employers are not required to provide paid time off for parents who have lost a child but employees have a right to take a reasonable amount of unpaid time off work to deal with an emergency involving a dependant.

Will Quince, Member of Parliament for Colchester, said:

“There can be few worse life experiences than the loss of a child and while most employers treat their staff with dignity and compassion when this tragedy occurs, all too often we have heard stories of grieving parents being forced back to work too early. 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 workers’ rights in this area in the world.”

Richard Porter leads the Employment Law team at Thompson Smith and Puxon. If you need advice on an Employment matter Richard can be contacted on 01206 217027 or by email at