Parents will be able to take bereavement leave after death of child under 'Jack’s Law' employment shake-up
Parents who suffer the loss of a child will be entitled to paid leave for two weeks under new changes to employment law unveiled by ministers.
The Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Regulations, or ‘Jack’s Law’, will come into force from 6 April, after 10 years of campaigning by mother Lucy Herd following the death of her son, Jack.
The new right, hailed by the Government as a world first, will apply to all working parents who lose a child under 18, including stillbirths from 24 weeks of pregnancy.
The paid leave will apply regardless of how long the bereaved family have worked for their employer.
Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said: "There can be few worse experiences in life than the loss of a child and I am proud that this government is delivering ‘Jack’s Law’, making us the first country in the word to do so.
"When it takes effect, Jack’s Law will be a fitting testament to the tireless efforts of Lucy Herd, alongside many charities, to give parents greater support."
The move is expected to help an estimated 10,000 parents a year, and will be able to be taken in blocks of two separate weeks or a full two weeks to be flexible over when the leave is needed the most, such as marking an anniversary.
The introduction also comes ahead of Government plans for a new Employment Bill, with ministers promising further reforms for workers including pledges on carers’ leave and neonatal pay.
Campaigner Ms Herd said: "In the immediate aftermath of a child dying, parents have to cope with their own loss, the grief of their wider family, including other children, as well as a vast amount of administrative paperwork and other arrangements.
"A sudden or accidental death may require a post-mortem or inquest; there is a funeral to arrange; and there are many other organisations to contact, from schools to benefit offices.
She added: "When I started this campaign ten years ago after the death of my son Jack, I always hoped that a positive change would happen in his memory.
“I was told many times that I would not succeed but Jack’s Law will now ensure that bereaved parents are better protected in the future."
Labour also backed the change.
Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey said: "Labour has supported the proposal for parental bereavement leave from its inception, and we welcome this announcement.
"As set out in our Workers' Rights Manifesto, Labour is calling for bereavement leave for those who have lost a close family member."