The loss of a child is a tragedy no parent plans for, but with over 5,000 child deaths per year and no statutory right to bereavement leave, 81% of those recently surveyed feel that it’s time this changed. While some employers may provide bereavement leave as part of their company policy, the law currently only offers the right to take the time necessary to deal with the emergency and plan the funeral arrangements.
A Private Member’s Bill has been introduced in parliament which would give a legal entitlement of two weeks paid leave to all employees who lose a child under the age of 18. Campaigners for reform on this area suggest that this would:
- Have far-reaching mental health benefits
- Reduce the likelihood of long-term sickness
- Benefit employers and improve staff moral
- Previous attempts to introduce bereavement leave have failed, and without the support of the government, this latest Bill is unlikely to be successful. However, a continued debate on this subject could lead to the government bowing to pressure and introducing similar provisions.