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Scottish MPs seek to strengthen Parental Bereavement Bill

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)


THREE SNP MPs have lodged amendments to a new Bill aimed at giving parents grieving the death of a child more rights to take time off work.

David Linden, Patricia Gibson and Gavin Newlands said the changes they are proposing would “significantly strengthen” the new legislation, which is currently going through Westminster.

The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Bill will, for the first time, give parents who suffer the death of a child under the age of 18 the right to two weeks paid leave.

However that would only apply to workers who had been in their job for a minimum of 26 weeks, with self employed workers also not included.

The amendments put forward by the three MPs would remove the time period people have to have been employed for, and would also ensure those who work for themselves are covered, along with workers on zero hours contracts.

Parents would be given the right to a further day off to attend their child’s funeral, if the SNP amendments are passed, and would be entitled to be paid in full while on bereavement leave, instead of receiving 90% of their wages.

Mr Linden, the MP for Glasgow East, said: “The death of a child is a parent’s worst nightmare and it should be met with the maximum amount of support possible – both practically and emotionally.

“This Bill is a major step forward from the current situation, which leaves bereaved families in an incredibly awful predicament and all too often means parents return to work far too early.

“Current legislation means that families whose babies or children die are simply left hoping and praying that their employer takes pity and acts reasonably, which evidence suggests is not always the case.

“That’s why enshrining proper, full, paid bereavement leave in law is so vitally important.”

He added: “The amendments we’ve tabled would significantly strengthen the Bill and ensure that self-employed workers, and those on zero hours contracts, are fully protected in the tragic event of a child dying.

“I am very hopeful that MPs on a cross-party basis will listen to the argument and support our amendments to ensure a good Bill becomes an even better law.”

The amendments have already been backed by the charity Clic Sargent, which helps children and young people suffering from cancer and their families.

Assistant director Clare Laxton said: “In the UK, 10 children and young people die from cancer every week, and at CLIC Sargent we want to ensure that bereaved parents have the support they need from employers.

“That is why we welcomed the introduction of the Parental Bereavement Bill and strongly support the amendments laid by David Linden MP and colleagues to offer more statutory support.

“If passed these amendments will include an additional day off for a child’s funeral and statutory leave for parents who lose a child of any age.”