Preparing for changes to Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay
The Government intends to introduce a new entitlement to Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay from April 2020. As an employer, you will need to update your systems and processes to reflect this change. Here’s what you need to know.
What is the new entitlement?
The new entitlement will provide parents who lose a child or suffer a stillbirth with a day-one employment right to take two weeks off work. Eligible parents will be entitled to two weeks’ statutory pay.
Subject to Parliamentary agreement, the new entitlement will apply to deaths or stillbirths on or after 6 April 2020.
Summary of the key points
HMRC has provided a high-level summary of two key aspects of the policy. Please see below.
Definition of a ‘bereaved parent’:
This will capture a broad range of ‘parents’, including adoptive parents, parents of a child born to a surrogate, parents who are fostering to adopt, as well as individuals who have been caring for the child in their own home, continuously for a period of 4 weeks ending with the date of death, with responsibility for the child’s care during that time.
Notice and evidence requirements:
Parental Bereavement Leave
An employee will not need to provide written notice for Parental Bereavement Leave. The length of notice required for leave will vary depending on whether the employee intends to take leave within the first 8 weeks following the death (Period A), or later (Period B).
- For leave taken in Period A, the employee will need to notify their employer before they would be due to start work on the first day of absence.
- For leave taken in Period B, the employee will need to provide notice at least one week before the start of the leave period.
Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay (SPBP)
An employee must provide written notice for SPBP within 28 days beginning with the first day of the week in which SPBP is being claimed, stating the dates of the period(s) to which the claim relates.
At the same time, an employee must also provide in writing to the employer the specified information:
- The employee’s name
- The date of the child’s death
- A declaration that the person meets the conditions of eligibility.
Unlike leave, the length of notice required for SPBP does not vary depending on when the entitlement is taken.
The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018 applies only to Great Britain. At the current time, no legislation to introduce parental bereavement leave or pay has been introduced in Northern Ireland, therefore, the measure will not apply in Northern Ireland.
Start looking at your processes now
Rather than wait until April, take the next few weeks to review your procedures to identify where you need to make changes to comply with the new entitlement. Get all your documentation updated and ready to be implemented from April. Including a plan of how to communicate the information to all your staff.
You may also need to arrange for senior employees who are responsible for team members to be briefed ahead of time. This will ensure that they understand the changes and have time to ask any questions and raise any concerns with how to manage the new procedures.
This change will not only impact HR, senior managers, and individuals, you also need to ensure that Finance and Payroll have updated their systems to make the payments as necessary.
Plan in time over the coming weeks to carry out an adequate company-wide review before this change comes into effect.
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