Employers are not currently obliged to grant compassionate leave or provide pay in the event of bereavement or family illness. This will change from April 6, 2020. So what do Watford employers need to know?

Bereavement leave

Employees will be entitled to bereavement leave when they lose a child under the age of 18. This includes a still birth after 24 weeks of pregnancy. In addition:

• There is no minimum length of service requirement.

• The right will be available to all legal parents, as well as to legal guardians, individuals who have obtained court orders giving them day-to-day responsibility for caring for the child as well as to those living in an enduring family relationship with the child and the parent.

• Statutory parental bereavement leave will need to be taken either as a single block of two weeks or as two separate blocks of one week.

• The leave will need to be taken during the period of 56 weeks from the date of the child's death.

Bereavement pay

Statutory parental bereavement pay will be paid to employees with at least 26 weeks' continuous service ending with the 'relevant week' which is the week before the child died.

The rate of pay will be the same as statutory paternity pay and shared parental pay.

What should employers do?

It is not necessary to have a policy, but to allow the right to be exercised and for statutory payments to be made. The benefit of a policy is that all staff are treated equally and know their rights.

In addition, employers may choose to exceed the statutory minimum requirements set out in the regulations, for example by increasing the amount of pay each week or extending the number of week's leave.

  • Rebecca Fox is a senior associate at award-winning law firm VWV, which has offices in Clarendon Road, Watford