This House of Lords Library Briefing has been prepared in advance of the second reading of the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Bill in the House of Lords on 29 June 2018.Jump to full report >>
The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Bill is a private member’s bill that would amend the Employment Rights Act 1996 and the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992 to introduce statutory obligations on employers across Great Britain. This would require employers to offer minimum levels of leave and pay to employees in the event of the loss of a child. It was introduced in the House of Commons by Kevin Hollinrake (Conservative MP for Thirsk and Malton). Following its passage through the Commons, it was given its first reading in the House of Lords on 14 May 2018 and is scheduled to receive its second reading on 29 June 2018. The Bill’s sponsor in the House of Lords is Lord Knight of Weymouth (Labour).
The Bill received its first reading in the House of Commons on 19 July 2017 when presented to Parliament via the ballot procedure. The Bill received cross-party support in the House of Commons. The Government also supported the Bill, having made a commitment in its 2017 general election manifesto to introduce “a new entitlement to child bereavement leave”. The Bill was amended at committee stage to extend the right to paid parental bereavement leave to parents of a child that is stillborn after 24 weeks of pregnancy. However, a number of issues were repeatedly raised during the Bill’s passage through the House of Commons, including the definition of the terms “bereaved parent” and “child”, the requirement to take leave within 56 days of bereavement, and the blocks of time in which leave can be taken. A total of 30 amendments were selected for consideration during committee stage, and a further 25 at report stage. Six of these amendments, all dealing with the subject of stillbirths, were made without division. Two amendments were pressed to a vote (both during committee stage). Amendment 2 would have guaranteed a day of leave for the bereaved parent on the day of the child’s funeral, while amendment 12 would have extended the scope of parental bereavement leave to include the bereaved parents of disabled children over the age of 18.
The Bill largely replicates the content of the Parental Bereavement Leave (Statutory Entitlement) Bill, introduced by Will Quince (Conservative MP for Colchester) during the previous parliamentary session. Although it received cross-party support, Mr Quince’s Bill was halted in its progression through Parliament by the 2017 general election.