The government has confirmed that parents who suffer a stillbirth or the loss of a child under 18 will be entitled to at least two weeks’ paid statutory bereavement leave, as of April 2020.

The leave regulations, which were laid before parliament earlier this month, will apply to all employed parents who 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. The new provision will be in addition to their existing parental leave entitlement.

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.

Parents with at least 26 weeks’ continuous service with their employer and weekly average earnings over the lower earnings limit (£118 per week for 2019 to 2020) will also be entitled to Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay (SPBP), paid at the statutory rate of £148.68 per week (for 2019 to 2020), or 90 per cent of average weekly earnings where this is lower.

This mirrors the approach for other parental entitlements, such as paternity leave and pay. SPBP will also be administered by employers in the same way as existing family-related statutory payments such as Statutory Paternity Pay.

The Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Regulations are to be known as Jack’s Law in memory of Jack Herd whose mother Lucy started the campaign 10 years ago after the death of her son Jack and has campaigned tirelessly on the issue ever since.

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 right to parental bereavement leave and pay makes the UK one of a very few countries worldwide to offer such support.

It will come into force on 6 April 2020.

Neil Todd, of Thompsons Solicitors, commented: “The introduction of legislation to provide a legal entitlement to two weeks bereavement leave for the loss of a child is a progressive step to be welcomed. I hope that further government consultation will ensue in due course on the wider circumstances in which working people should be entitled to leave and pay following a family bereavement.”

To access the regulations, go to: