Statutory Parental Bereavement Leave
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):
- One (1) week of leave.
- Two (2) separate weeks of leave.
- Two (2) weeks’ leave together.
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.
How SPBL Affects other Statutory Leave
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).
Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay
If your employee qualifies for Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay, after deducting tax and National Insurance, they will get (the lesser of):
- £156.66 a week.
- 90% of their average weekly earnings.
Different employment types affect what employers pay in Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay, such as agency workers, directors, and educational workers.
Offering Extra Leave or Pay
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.
Eligibility as a Parent and Employee
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.
Employee was the Parent or Parent’s Partner
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):
- They were either the biological or adoptive parent of the baby or child (or parent of a child born to a surrogate parent).
- They were the partner of the child’s or baby’s parent.
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.
Employee was not the Parent but had Day to Day Responsibility
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):
- The baby or child was living with them at their home for four (4) continuous weeks (ending with the date of the death).
- They had the day to day responsibility of caring for the baby or child during that time.
But, if an employee (or their partner) got paid to look after the child, they would not have entitlement to leave or pay, unless:
- A local authority paid them a fee or allowance for being a foster parent.
- They got reimbursed for the expenses for caring for the baby or child.
- The payments they were getting fell under the terms of a will or trust for the care of the baby or child.
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 Employee was Adoptive Parent
If the employee (or their partner) was an adoptive parent, the employee would be eligible:
- Once the adoption order has been granted.
- Before the adoption court order has been granted (providing the child was placed with them for adoption and there was no disruption to the placement, such as being temporarily placed elsewhere, or stopped altogether).
Employee was Adoptive Parent of a Child from Overseas
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):
- The child was living with them after he or she entered Great Britain.
- They are in possession of the ‘official notification’ that confirms they have permission to adopt the child.
Employee had Baby through a Surrogate Parent
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:
- Once a parental order has been made (e.g. they become the legal parent of a child).
- Before a parental order was made if they had already applied (or intended to apply) for a parental order within six (6) months of the child’s birth and they expected it would be successfully granted.
Parental Bereavement Leave
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.
Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay
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:
- Be earning an average weekly pay of £123 (gross).
- Provide you with the correct notice for Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay.
Employees may still qualify provided they usually earn an average of at least £123 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).
Employee Notice Periods
Employees need to give notice for Parental Bereavement Leave to their employer as well as some evidence to get Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay.
Parental Bereavement Leave
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:
- The first begins from the date of the stillbirth or death to eight (8) weeks afterward.
- The second starts from nine (9) to fifty six (56) weeks after the date of the stillbirth or death.
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.
From 0 to 8 Weeks (first period)
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.
From 9 to 56 Weeks (second period)
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:
- When they want their Parental Bereavement Leave to start.
- Whether they will be taking one (1) or two (2) weeks’ leave.
Employees can give notice using an informal process, such as by email, telephone, or by text message. Even so, the employer cannot ask for:
- For leave in writing (e.g. following up with an email, form, or letter).
- To cancel leave in writing.
- Evidence of their entitlement for leave.
- Personal details about their relationship to the baby or child.
If an Employee Cancels Parental Bereavement Leave
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.
Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay
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:
- The dates of the period they want to claim Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay.
- The date of the stillbirth or the child’s death.
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).
If an Employee Cancels Statutory Parental Bereavement 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.
Using a Non-payment Form
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.
Getting Financial Help with Statutory Pay
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:
- Your employer PAYE reference and payment or account office reference numbers (found on the letter when registering as an employer).
- How much tax or National Insurance you owe to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
- Bank account or building society details (claim an Income Tax refund (R38) if paid to a third party).
The information you will need to know about your employee, includes their:
- Average weekly earnings.
- National Insurance number.
- Arrangements for parental bereavement leave and pay (found on their self declaration).
Keeping Records for HMRC
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:
- The start date for any paid period of Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay and what payments you made (including the relevant dates).
- A copy of the evidence of entitlement for Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay supplied by the employee, including the employee’s name and:
- Date of the stillbirth or child’s death.
- Written declaration.
- Information about any weeks the employee claimed Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay but you refused to pay and the reason for not paying.
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.