In Brief

Jack’s Law to help bereaved parents

From April, working parents who suffer the loss of a child will be entitled to two weeks of statutory paid leave

Parents who lose a child will be entitled to two weeks of statutory paid leave, under the first-of-its-kind legislation that comes into effect in April.

It follows a ten-year campaign waged by Lucy Herd, whose 23-month-old son Jack drowned in 2010. At the time of Jack’s death the law only allowed his father to take three days off work, one of which had to be the day of the funeral.

The BBC says “as the law currently stands, there is no automatic right to paid time off for bereavement” with financial burdens and the fear of losing work often pushing parents back into work before they are ready.

Research conducted last year showed that six in ten UK workers do not have enough savings to pay unexpected bills, “so a tragedy like a bereavement can easily leave people struggling”, says The Sun.

The new legal entitlements, known as Jack’s Law, “is the most generous parental bereavement pay offer in the world” says The Guardian, with ministers estimating it will support 10,000 families a year in the UK.

It will cover all working parents who lose a child under the age of 18 or have a stillbirth, irrespective of how long an individual has been with their current employer.

Parents will be able to take the leave as either a single block of two weeks, or as two separate blocks of one week each taken at different times across the first year after their child’s death.

Announcing the new legislation, 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.”

And in a rare moment of cross-party consensus, her opposite number and Labour leadership candidate Rebecca Long-Bailey told ITV News: “Labour has supported the proposal for parental bereavement leave from its inception, and we welcome this announcement”.

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