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The provisions of the Bill reflect those of the Parental Bereavement Leave (Statutory Entitlement) Bill 2016-17, sponsored by Will Quince MP, which was introduced in the last session of Parliament although failed to progress before the 2017 General Election. 

The Bill’s Second Reading debate took place on 20 October 2017 during which it attraced cross-party support. Its Committee Stage took place on 31 January and 7 February 2018. This briefing provides an overview of the Bill and its background, together with a summary of relevant Parliamentary debate.

The Bill comprises two clauses and one Schedule.  Its substantive content is contained in the Schedule.  The Schedule has three parts.

Part 1 creates a statutory entitlement to parental bereavement leave by amending the Employment Rights Act 1996. The details will be set out in regulations subject to the affirmative resolution procedure.  The period of leave provided for by such regulations must be at least two weeks.  It will be possible to split the leave period such that two week-long periods of leave may be taken separately.  The right to leave will be available from day one of employment.

Part 2 creates a statutory entitlement to parental bereavement pay by amending social security legislation. While the Bill does not identify the amount of pay per week of leave, the Explanatory Notes and Impact Assessment indicate that this will be the statutory flat rate used for similar types of leave (e.g. paternity leave and maternity leave after the first six weeks), which is £140.98 or 90% of weekly earnings, whichever is lower.  In order to qualify, the employee must earn more than £113 per week.  The right to pay will be available after 26 weeks of employment.

Part 3 would make consequential amendments. One of these would be to section 7 of the Employment Act 2002, providing that employers could recover from HM Revenue and Customs amounts paid in statutory parental bereavement pay.  Large firms with annual National Insurance contributions of over £45,000 would be entitled to recover 92% of money paid; all other employers would be entitled to recover 103%.

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