News story legal challenge

23rd January 2020 • Emma Cooper

Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom has announced today that parents who suffer the loss of a child under the age of 18 will be entitled to paid bereavement leave.

The new legislation will take effect from April 2020. It is also the most generous offer on parental bereavement pay and leave in the world.

To be called Jack’s Law in memory of Jack Herd, whose mother Lucy campaigned tirelessly on the issue, it is to be available for all employed parents, irrespective of how long they have worked in their current job. The statutory right will also include parents who have suffered a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Parents will be able to take the paid bereavement leave as either:

  • a single block of 2 weeks,
  • as 2 separate blocks of one week each taken at different times across the first year of their child’s death.

This means that they can match their leave to the times they feel they need it most, which could be in the early years or over the first anniversary.

Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said:

‘There can be few worse experiences in life than the loss of a child and I am proud that this government is delivering ‘Jack’s Law’, making us the first country in the world to do so.
When it takes effect, Jack’s Law will be a fitting testament to the tireless efforts of Lucy Herd, alongside many charities, to give parents greater support.’

Lucy Herd said:

‘In the immediate aftermath of a child dying, parents have to cope with their own loss, the grief of their wider family, including other children, as well as a vast amount of administrative paperwork and other arrangements. A sudden or accidental death may require a post-mortem or inquest; there is a funeral to arrange; and there are many other organisations to contact, from schools to benefit offices.

When I started this campaign 10 years ago after the death of my son Jack, I always hoped that a positive change would happen in his memory. Knowing that nearly 10 years of campaigning has helped create ‘Jack’s Law’ is the most wonderful feeling, but it is bittersweet at the same time. I am so grateful to all those involved who have helped make this possible. I was told many times that I would not succeed but Jack’s Law will now ensure that bereaved parents are better protected in the future.’

If you are looking for support on bereavement, our article Life Limiting Conditions contains some useful information and links to organisations who can help.