Bereavement Leave

The new right

It will allow any employee (irrespective of their length of service), to take two weeks leave off from work subsequent to the death of a child under the age of 18 years or a stillbirth after 24 weeks pregnancy. The time off can be two weeks consecutively, or two blocks of leave of one week each.

The bereavement leave can be taken in period ‘A’ or period ‘B’ or a combination of period ‘A’ and ‘B’.

“Period A” means the period of 56 days beginning from the date of the child’s death.

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“Period B” means the period beginning the day after the end of Period A (i.e. the 57th day) and ending 56 weeks from the date of the child’s death.

Notification requirements

If an employee intends to take leave in Period A, then the employee should notify the employer before the start of their shift, or as soon as it is reasonably practical.

In Period A, the employee may cancel that week’s parental bereavement leave by giving notice to the employer no later than the time on the first day of that week on which the employee would have been due to start work.

If an employee wants to take time off during period B, then the employee should notify the employer at least one week before the start of the bereavement leave. Likewise, in Period B, the employee may cancel that week’s parental bereavement leave by giving notice to the employer at least one week before the start of that week off.

It is unfortunate that the notification requirements are so convoluted.