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Well hello there, Force of Nature (Emma) here…..and who can believe we are almost at the end of another half term (a big high 5 for all those school child parents who have successfully made it through another half term of demands…this time we have had children running a mile a day so send trainers and sponsor them, Wednesday maths sessions, early finishes for parents evenings, the scrum for parents evening appointments and the usual Easter service to contend with, as well as “wear a scarf” or odd socks or red noses or something weird!)

Some schools have already broken up so you may be reading this with your little ones buzzing around you …good luck, I bet your house is already devoid of ANY snacks!!

Ours break up Thursday and we are off on our jollies Saturday.  However, this will not be a jet setter travel blog like Philip’s….we are going to …wait for it … yes ……Lincolnshire!!!  Glam or what!??!!  Jesting aside, we always have a great time.  Think traditional British seaside holiday – beaches in the rain, fish and chips, ice cream, arcades as well as a trip to the horse races and other days out.  So, watch out for some Precept holiday videos.

We go with my parents and have done for many years, so it’s true down time.  Both Rob and I agree we are in big need of it.  We love our clients dearly but WowWee we have been busy of late….it seems to be the same everywhere – HR has gone bonkers!  So, from me to you, I hope you thoroughly enjoy the 4 day Easter weekend – I hope it is filled with chocolate, lambs and family.

Talking of family…..see what I am doing here….I have a wee update (because that is actually what I am here for, not just to chatter!) on the new parental bereavement leave right coming in, in so far as it applies to “fathers.”

It is not a jolly topic at all but since 06 April 2020, those parents who sadly suffer a stillborn or whose baby dies, are entitled to 2 weeks of paid leave (called parental bereavement leave).  This can be taken at any time in the 56 weeks after the death or stillbirth.  Now, this is a little known right in the first place so do you have a policy?  If not, we can help.

The update is a bit of a techy issue so bear with me…it relates to the mercifully rare situation where the mother dies.  The original Private Members’ Bill, the Shared Parental Leave and Pay (Bereavement) Bill, was substantively amended and renamed the Paternity Leave (Bereavement) Bill, last week.

Let me explain, the purpose of the original Bill is to allow fathers or partners who don’t have 26 weeks service the ability to take shared parental leave (SPL) where the mother of the child dies during the SPL.  This would have required further Regulations to be passed.

The changes mean that:

  • Paternity leave (rather than SPL) will be the vehicle for enabling bereaved fathers and partners to take leave on the death of a child’s mother (or adoptive parent), even when they do not have the usual 26-week minimum service requirement. A bereaved parent of an adopted child or a child born through a surrogacy arrangement will also fall within the scope of the new provisions.
  • The current stipulation that a parent who has taken SPL cannot subsequently take paternity leave will be removed.
  • In situations where the child also dies (or is returned after adoption), regulations could allow the father or partner to stay on paternity leave for a period, despite the fact that they would not be taking the leave for the usual purpose of supporting the mother or caring for the child.
  • Regulations could provide enhanced redundancy protection to bereaved employees when they return from extended paternity leave, allow them to have keep-in-touch (KIT) days and allow them to carry out work for their employer without bringing their leave to an end.

The Bill does not contain any provisions directly increasing the amount of paternity leave from the usual two weeks.  However, reference was made in the debate to “extended paternity leave”. It is therefore anticipated that regulations may increase the amount of paternity leave in bereavement cases.

The report stage of the Bill is expected to take place on 26 April 2024. So, no live date yet but it is certainly one to watch – potentially extending paternity leave in these tragic circumstances.

Obviously situations like this require massively delicate handling, so if you need any assistance we are always there to support you.