At present, there is no statutory entitement in the Employment Rights Act 1996 and the Employment Rights Order 1996 in Northern Ireland to leave or pay when a parent/parents suffer the death of a child. However, employers and employees need to be aware of the statutory enmtitlement to “time off for dependants” that is contained in the 1996 Act and Order. This would include the death of a dependant, though this statutory entitlement is to leave only.
In July 2017, Conservative MP Kevin Hollinrake introduced a Private Member’s ‘Ballot Bill’ to Parliament. A second reading of the Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill is scheduled for 20 October 2017 and it is one that UK reward and software development professionals need to keep an eye on.
In brief, the Bill proposes the following additions to the Employment Rights Act 1996. Note that the bill, when and if enacted, makes provisions for the statutory entitlement though it is secondary legislation in the form of regulations that we will also have to look out for:
Statutory Parental Bereavement Leave will apply to ‘bereaved parents’ suffering the bereavement of a ‘child’. Regulations will expand on who exactly parents are and the definition of a child. As per the bill:
This is an interesting one and I do think we should keep an eye on progress. In particular, we need to be looking at any proposed implementation date and whether similar legislation will be put forward in Northern Ireland to amend their 1996 Order.