My Private Members Bill, once it is given Royal Assent, will, for the first time, give grieving parents the entitlement to two weeks paid leave if they lose a child under the age of 18. The Bill has already passed through the Committee stage and will return to Parliament for its Third Reading and Report Stage on May 11th. Up to 5,000 children in the UK die each year.
It is the most dreadful and unimaginable experience that any parent could suffer and I think it’s important that grieving parents should be given time to start to come to terms with their loss. The majority of employers act with compassion and kindness, but some do not. There have even been extreme cases when parents were not given time off to attend a funeral or were pressured to return to work too soon after losing their child. This is why this statutory protection is so important.
I am grateful to Will Quince MP who first brought this issue to the fore in a ten-minute rule Bill on statutory entitlement during the previous parliamentary session. Unfortunately, the order to read the Bill a second time lapsed but it has served as the catalyst to our current progress. I’m also grateful to fellow MPs, on both sides of the House, who have shared their own personal stories of losing a beloved child.