Parental Bereavement Leave and Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay has been available for cases of child death and stillbirth since the 6th of April 2020.
Information in this Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay and Leave employer guide explains the eligibility criteria, entitlement rates, and how notice periods work.
Beginning the first day of employment, employees can take two (2) weeks of leave for each child who was stillborn or died under the age of 18.
If it happened on or after April 6th 2020 they can take (any):
Note: Statutory Parental Bereavement Leave can start on or after the date of the stillbirth or death. But, it must finish within fifty six (56) weeks of the date that it happened.
Parental Bereavement Leave cannot start until any other type of statutory leave has finished - even if it applies to a different child.
What if the start of another type of statutory leave interrupts your employee's Parental Bereavement Leave? If so, they will be able to take any remaining entitlement to Parental Bereavement Leave upon completion of the other leave (within 56 weeks).
Employees can take Parental Bereavement Leave between blocks of shared parental leave already booked when the child died - even if that leave is for a different child.
Note: Read through the employer guide to Shared Parental Leave and Pay for further information about ShPP (with examples).
If your employee qualifies for Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay, after deducting tax and National Insurance, they will get (the lesser of):
Different employment types affect what employers pay in Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay, such as agency workers, directors, and educational workers.
Companies that offer more leave and pay to their employees can only recover two (2) weeks of payment for each employee (and for each child death).
Furthermore, all Parental Bereavement Leave and Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay policies need to be clear and easily accessible for all staff members.
Employment law protects the rights of employees when on leave (e.g. holidays, pay rises, and returning to a job). Also, employers still need to pay Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay (SPBL) even if they cease trading.
Employees need to qualify for Parental Bereavement Leave and for Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay - as an employee and as a parent (including having day to day responsibility). In some cases, they will not be eligible for both.
If an employee was a parent of the child (or the partner of the parent) they will be eligible if (at the time of the stillbirth or the child's death):
Biological parents lose eligibility if an adoption or parental order is made. An exception would apply if there was a contact order in place after the adoption.
Employees who were not the child's parent, but had the day to day responsibility for them, may also be eligible if (also applies to their partner):
But, if an employee (or their partner) got paid to look after the child, they would not have entitlement to leave or pay, unless:
Employees lose eligibility if one of the parents, or someone with parental rights and responsibilities for the child, (parental responsibilities and rights in Scotland) was also living in the same household.
If the employee (or their partner) was an adoptive parent, the employee would be eligible:
Similarly, if the employee (or their partner) was an adoptive parent adopting a child from outside of the United Kingdom (prior to the court order), they may still qualify if (both):
If the employee (or their partner) had a baby with the help of a surrogate parent and were a parent of a child born using a surrogacy arrangement, the employee would be eligible:
Employees can get Parental Bereavement Leave providing they are classed as an employee (no matter how long they worked for the same employer) and they supply the correct notice.
Employees can get Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay if they have been continuously employed with the same employer for a period of at least 26 weeks up to the end of the 'relevant week'.
The term 'relevant week' refers to the week (ending on a Saturday) immediately before the week of the stillbirth or child's death.
Your employee must also remain in your employment up to the day the baby is stillborn or the child dies, and:
Employees may still qualify provided they usually earn an average of at least £120 a week, even if they earned less in some weeks due to being 'on furlough' under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Note: HMRC produce guidance explaining how to manually calculate employee Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay (e.g. if your payroll software cannot perform the task) and for employee circumstances that affect it (e.g. they become sick or leave).
Employees need to give notice for Parental Bereavement Leave to their employer as well as some evidence to get Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay.
Employees have fifty six (56) weeks to take Parental Bereavement Leave (either 2 weeks of leave in one block or as 2 separate blocks of one week), starting from the date that child died. The 56 weeks divides into two separate periods:
Employers must get the correct notice from their employee before they take Parental Bereavement Leave. The amount of notice required will depend on when they are taking their leave.
The notice period required for 0 to 8 weeks after stillbirth or the child's death is some point before the time that they would usually start work on the first day relating to the period they want to take off work.
The notice period required for 9 to 56 weeks after stillbirth or the child's death is at least one (1) week of notice before the start of the week (or weeks) that they want to take off work.
As part of the notice, employees should give the date of the child's death or stillbirth to their employer, as well as:
Employees can give notice using an informal process, such as by email, telephone, or by text message. Even so, the employer cannot ask for:
Employees can cancel their Parental Bereavement Leave in cases where they gave more than the required notice for taking leave to their employer.
If they were starting leave within 8 weeks of the death or stillbirth, they must tell you about the cancellation no later than the time they would normally start work on the first day of planned leave.
They must tell you no later than one (1) week before the start of the intended leave if they were starting it nine (9) weeks or later after the stillbirth or death.
Employers can rebook another week of leave if they cancel it before the leave was due to begin and they supply you with the correct notice.
Employees need to ask for Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay within twenty eight (28) days, beginning with the first day of the week for which they want to claim their pay.
The notice must be given in writing (e.g. by email or letter) each time and include their name along with:
Employees also need to give a self declaration to their employer to confirm they qualify due to their relationship to the baby or child (only needed once when they first ask for pay).
Employees can cancel Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay in cases where they gave more than the required notice for claiming pay.
They need to give notice on the first day of the week of pay they want to cancel if it was due to start within eight (8) weeks of the stillbirth or child's death.
They need to tell their employer that they want to cancel one week before their pay was due to begin if it was due to start nine (9) weeks or later after the stillbirth or child's death.
Employers can use the non-payment form (SPBP1) to refuse Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay to employees who do not qualify.
Send them a completed form (or an equivalent) within 28 days of their evidence for a pay request. Remember to keep a record of the week you refused and the reason for the refusal.
HMRC Statutory Payments Disputes Team have guidance on dealing with disagreements about formal decisions. Your employer would need to contact them within six (6) months of their Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay period start date.
HM Revenue and Customs require employers to keep records (e.g. using record sheet SPBP2) for at least three (3) years from the end of the relevant tax year. The records must include:
Employers who cannot afford to make Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay may get financial help with statutory payments. Before applying online for an advance (paid by BACS or payable order), you will need to prepare:
The information you will need to know about your employee, includes their:
You can use your Government Gateway user ID to apply online for an advance if you have one set up - or use a valid email address if not.
Send the R38 form by post to HMRC within four (4) weeks of applying for an advance if it will be paid to a third party.
Upon approval, HMRC will pay the money direct to the bank or building society account that you provided - or by cheque. They will contact you if any issues need solving.
Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay and Leave Employer Guide for UK