Jack’s Law – A new legal right

From April 2020: 

  • Working parents who lose a child under the age of 18 will get 2 weeks statutory paid leave
  • This new legal right to two weeks paid bereavement leave, to be called ‘Jack’s Law’, is a world first

There can be few worse experiences in life than the loss of a child. 

Many parents are forced to make hard choices about returning to work at a desperately difficult time following their child’s death, fearing a loss of pay or job security if they take time off. 

Parents have to cope with their own loss, the grief of their family and a huge amount of paperwork and other arrangements. A child’s death may involve a post-mortem or inquest; a funeral to arrange and organisations to inform. 

Whilst many employers are understanding in these situations, some are not.  

Parents will now have the legal right to take two weeks paid leave. 

The right will also apply to all employed parents who suffer a stillbirth (from 24 weeks of pregnancy) irrespective of how long they have been with their employer.  

Parents can take the leave as a single block of two weeks, or as two separate blocks of one week, taken at different times across the first year after their child’s death. This means they can match their leave to the times they need it most, which could be in the early days or on the first anniversary of their child’s death. 

The leave will be administered by employers in the same way as existing family-related payments such as Statutory Paternity Pay.

This is an important change in the law and offers much welcomed support to bereaved parents in the workplace at a vital time.