The Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill has been introduced to Parliament on 19 July 2017.
Under the proposed new law, employed parents who suffer the death of a child will for the first time be entitled to statutory paid leave. The law is supported by the government in line with its initiative to “enhance the rights and protections in the workplace” to ensure that grieving parents in employment receive paid leave to mourn away from the workplace.
Kevin Hollinrake MP who introduced the Bill said: “This is such an important Bill for parents going through the most terrible of times. There is little any of us can do to help, but at least we can make sure that every employer will give them time to grieve.”
At present, under the Employment Rights Act, there are no legal requirements for employers to give paid leave to grieving parents. Employees, however, have a right to take a “reasonable” amount of unpaid time off work to make arrangements following the death of a dependant.
The new Bereavement Law will make it compulsory for employers to offer two weeks of paid bereavement leave to parents after the death of a child under the age of 18 or in full-time education. The Bill states that grieving parents must be paid no less than 90 per cent of their average weekly earnings, or £139.58 per week (which was the statutory weekly rate in force at the time the Bill was originally published, but is currently £140.98), whichever is lesser. This amendment could help parents deal with the financial implications of bereavement, including paying for funeral arrangements.
It has not yet been confirmed whether or not the law will include parents who have lost a child during pregnancy.
The Bill is expected to have its second reading in the House of Commons in the autumn. In the meantime, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will be talking to employers, employee representatives and campaigners to better understand the needs of bereaved parents.
Family friendly leave has developed significantly in recent years. Keeping abreast of what’s what can be challenging for employers.
BrightPay’s employment law experts have designed a free webinar for employers, which will give attendees an overview of Maternity, Paternity, Shared Parental Leave and Parental Leave how to process them directly through payroll.
The webinar will highlight frequently asked questions in relation to the leave types mentioned above, such as:
The webinar will give attendees a chance to ask any questions you may have, with an interactive Q&A session at the end of the webinar.
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If you cannot attend the webinar, don't worry – the webinar will be recorded and as long as you have registered you will receive a link to the recording afterwards.
Chancellor George Osborne has announced that he will extend shared parental leave and pay to working grandparents, in recognition of the crucial role that working grandparents play in providing childcare for their families.
Approximately seven million grandparents are said to be involved in childcare, with evidence suggesting that nearly 2 million grandparents have given up work, reduced their hours or have taken time off work to help their families who cannot afford childcare costs. More than half of mothers rely on grandparents for childcare when they first go back to work after maternity leave, and over 60 per cent of working grandparents with grandchildren aged under 16 provide some childcare.
Consultation on the new measure will begin in the first half of 2017, with the aim of implementing the policy by 2018. The extension of shared parental leave and pay to working grandparents will ensure that hardworking families can structure their lives in a way that will work best for them and will provide flexible working arrangements for grandparents without the fear of losing their job.
Shared parental leave has now officially come into effect, meaning parents whose babies are born, or whose children are adopted, on or after 5th April 2015 will now be able to share a 50-week pot of leave.
285,000 working couples a year are expected to be eligible for shared parental leave, according to the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.
How does it work?
· Eligible couples will be able to share parental leave if the mother opts to end her maternity leave and pay early
· Both parents can be off work at the same time or can take turns to take time off to look after the child.
· The leave can be taken in discontinuous blocks if required and each parent is permitted to submit three separate notices to book this
Statutory shared parental pay will be paid at the rate of £139.58 a week or 90% of average weekly earnings, whichever is lower
Who is eligible?
To qualify for Statutory Shared Parental Pay, one parent must be an employee and must pass the continuity of employment test (they must have worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks at the end of the 15th week before the week in which the child arrives), whilst the other must meet the employment and earnings test (must have worked for at least 26 weeks in the 66 weeks leading up to the due date and have earned above the maternity allowance threshold of £30 week in 13 of those weeks).
Eligibility can be checked using GOV.UK’s quick and easy online tool.
BrightPay 2015/16 has full support for Shared Parental Leave and Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP). For assistance with recording shared parental leave and processing ShPP in BrightPay, please view our dedicated support topic on Statutory Shared Parental Pay.
There are just six weeks to go until mothers and fathers with babies due on or after 5 April 2015 can start sharing up to 50 weeks of parental leave.
285,000 working couples a year are expected to be eligible for Shared Parental Leave (SPL), with parents giving their employers 8 weeks’ notice of the pattern of leave they intend to take.
To help parents understand their rights and responsibilities, BIS and Acas have shared the following tips when considering Shared Parental Leave:
From April mothers will be allowed to share up to 50 weeks of their maternity leave and 37 weeks of their pay.
However, TUC analysis published shows that 40% of working dads with a child under the age of one would be ineligible because their partner is not in paid work. Mothers who are not employed or self employed do not have a right to share maternity leave or pay.
The TUC says that it welcomes SPL, but is concerned the scheme will have a limited impact because of the rules around eligibility and low statutory pay.
According to government projections, as few as 5,700 men are expected to apply for shared parental leave over the next 12 months. However, it estimates that shared parental leave would be open to around 200,000 more fathers each year if their rights to take it were not dependant on the mother being in work.
Half of new dads in the UK do not take their full two weeks’ statutory paternity leave – a rate that rises to three-quarters of fathers on the lowest incomes. The TUC says that without better rights to leave and pay, many men will continue to miss out on playing an active role in the first year of their child’s life.
A range of employment changes are set to come into effect in 2015. Employers need to familiarise themselves with these changes to ensure they are processing payroll correctly.
Some of the most significant changes to be aware of include:
1. Family Friendly Changes
a. Shared Parental Leave & Pay
This is brand new legislation which will apply to parents with babies due to be born/placed for adoption on or after 5th April 2015. Eligible parents will have the flexibility to share statutory leave and statutory pay in the child’s first year. Under the legislation, leave and pay may be taken in discontinuous blocks, and also both parents may take leave and be in receipt of statutory pay at the same time. Whilst using payroll software will ease the burden of processing shared parental leave and pay, there is a rigorous application process that must be completed by employees. To be sure you are ready, employers are well advised to familiarise themselves with the regulations early. Further details are available here.
b. Changes to Statutory Adoption Leave & Pay
From 5 April 2015 there will be no service requirement in order for employees to be eligible to take adoptive leave. Additionally, from 5 April 2015 the Statutory Adoption Pay rates will increase; the first 6 weeks will be paid at 90% of average weekly earnings. After that SAP will be paid at the lower of either the weekly standard rate or 90% of average weekly earnings. This will mirror the Statutory Maternity Pay rates.
Finally, primary adopters will now be entitled to paid time off to attend up to five adoption appointments.
c. Rise of child’s age limit for parental leave
The current right to take 18 weeks’ unpaid parental leave before a child’s 5th birthday is to be extended from 5 April 2015, so that leave can be taken up to the child’s 18th birthday.
2. Automatic Enrolment
Auto Enrolment will continue to be rolled out to all employers. Every UK employer has a date on which workplace pensions automatic enrolment applies to them, i.e. a staging date. For most employers that had between 30 and 58 staff on 1st April 2012 their staging date will be during 2015. However staging dates can vary, so employers are well advised to check out their staging date on the Pensions Regulator site http://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/employers/tools/staging-date.aspx
3. New Fit for Work Service
Due to be rolled out during the year, the Fit for Work Service will offer employers access to free occupational assistance for employees who have been off sick for four weeks or more. Employers will also be able to claim up to £500 tax relief on payments for medical treatment for their employees where the treatment has been recommended under the new scheme.
4. Statutory Pay Rates
The usual shifts in statutory rates of pay are scheduled for 2015. Rates for statutory maternity, paternity, and adoption pay will increase from 5 April 2015, as too will statutory sick pay rates. Any changes to the national minimum wage rates will be effective from 1 October 2015.
5. NIC and Under 21s
The abolition of employer NICs for Under 21s comes in to effect from 6th April 2015. Employers will not be required to pay Class 1 secondary NICs on earnings up to £815 per week, for employees who are under the age of 21. Class 1 secondary NICs will continue to be payable on all earnings in excess of £815 per week. This could result in savings to an employer of up to £90 per week for hiring an employee who is under 21!
Employers are unprepared for the new Shared Parental Leave legislation, according to studies despite the rules coming into force next week, on 1 December 2014.
More than one in five (21 per cent) HR Directors admitted they are not ready for the requirements of the legislation, while 70 per cent say they predict little or no interest from employees in the first 12 months.
Yet when employees were asked their views, a third (33 per cent) of 16- to 34-year-olds said they anticipate taking advantage of it within the next five years.
Shared parental leave is a new right that will enable eligible mothers, fathers, partners and adopters to choose how to share time off work in the first year after their child is born or placed with adoptive parents.. It will be an option for parents with a child due to be born on or after 5 April 2015.
The new allowance is designed to make it easier for women to return to the workplace after having a child, facilitating a more equal distribution of childcare responsibilities.
Yet, despite the potential benefits for work-life balance and gender equality, more than one in 10 (11 per cent) workers questioned have not heard of Shared Parental Leave, rising to 13 per cent of 16- to 34-year-olds.
This suggests an additional need for employers to educate staff to ensure they are all aware of the benefits and implications.
The introduction of Shared Parental Leave represents a step change for working parents, allowing them to take more control over child care responsibilities in the challenging few months after birth. Studies show that many employees are keenly anticipating the changes and the potential benefits they will bring. Some HR Directors may have underestimated the impact. In these cases, it’s time to start swotting up on the new rules, to ensure you’re ready to answer any upcoming employee questions.”
Check out your responsibilities at regulations at https://www.gov.uk/shared-parental-leave-and-pay/overview
Keep following www.brightcontracts.co.uk where we will be updating our Shared Parental Leave guidance regularly.
Time off for ante-natal appointments: extended to fathers/mothers' partners with effect from 1 October 2014. Fathers/mothers' partners, including agency workers, will be given a new right to take unpaid time off work, of up to a maximum of 6.5 hours each occasion, to attend up to two ante-natal appointments (there will be no service requirement for this, although agency workers must have fulfilled the 12 week qualification period)
A guide for employers and employees available at www.dti.gov.uk/workingparents.