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Compassionate Leave

Question for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

UIN 27196, tabled on 5 July 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing statutory bereavement leave.

Answered on

13 July 2021

Since April 2020, parents who lose a child under the age of 18 have a right to take up to 2 weeks of paid leave in the 56 weeks following the death of their child. This right extends to parents of babies who are stillborn after 24 complete weeks of pregnancy. We have not assessed the potential merits of extending entitlements to bereavement leave and pay to other groups, and it is too early to conduct a formal evaluation of the Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay scheme.

We recognise that the death of a close family member, friend, or colleague can be deeply upsetting. The Government believes that individuals are best placed to understand their own specific needs and we encourage their employers to respond in an appropriate and sensitive way.

Although there is no statutory entitlement to bereavement leave for employees who lose a close relative who is not a child, all employees have a ‘day 1’ right to take unpaid time off work to deal with an emergency involving a dependant. This entitlement can be used, for example, to make arrangements for the funeral.

Individuals who do not feel able to return to work following a bereavement may be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay whilst they are off work. All employees are also entitled to 5.6 weeks of Annual Leave a year.

Many employers offer ‘Compassionate Leave’ in these circumstances and we encourage employers to respond sensitively to each individual’s specific needs.