What is Jack’s Law?
Working parents who suffer the incredibly devastating loss of a child are set to get two weeks’ paid bereavement leave thanks to so-called Jack Law.
The Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Regulations bring in to effect a statutory right to a minimum of 2 weeks’ leave for all employed parents if they lose a child under the age of 18, or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy, irrespective of how long they have worked for their employer.
As the law stands at the moment, there is no right to paid leave on the death of a child or indeed any family member or pet. Many businesses do give some time off, maybe a couple of days, but this change to 2 weeks paid leave is a strong sign that this is important. There is currently the “right to time off for dependants” for any reason but importantly there is no right to be paid for the time off.
Parents will be able to take the leave as either a single block of 2 weeks, or as 2 separate blocks of one week each taken at different times across the first year after their child’s death. This means they can match their leave to the times they need it most, which could be in the early days or over the first anniversary.
Around 7,500 child deaths, including around 3,000 stillbirths, occur in the UK every year. The government estimates that this new entitlement will help to support around 10,000 parents a year.
The new laws are set to come into force in April 2020.
If you’re a business and want to know how to deal with this, I would strongly recommend you update your Staff/Employee Handbook to include up to date policies.