Midlothian's MP backs the extension of bereavement leave and pay scheme

Midlothian’s MP has added his support to the campaign to extend 'Jack's Law' so that employees who experience the loss of a close family member will be able to take paid bereavement leave.

Owen Thompson MP with Lucy Herd and Claire McCartney.
Owen Thompson MP with Lucy Herd and Claire McCartney.

Owen Thompson (SNP) attended a Parliamentary event in support of extending Jack’s Law which was hosted by the CIPD, the professional body for HR, Patricia Gibson MP and Lucy Herd, the Grief Educator and mother of Jack, after whom the law is named.

Mr Thompson has pledged his support to the Private Members Bill introduced by his SNP colleague Patricia Gibson, the Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Bill, which is due its Second Reading due on March 18.

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Jack’s Law was introduced in 2020 and focuses on the right of employed parents who lose a child under the age of 18 or suffer a stillbirth to bereavement leave and pay, irrespective of how long they have been with their employer. Parents with at least 26 weeks’ continuous service are also entitled to Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay.

Currently there is no legal requirement for employers in the UK to grant bereavement leave except for parents who have lost a child under the age of 18 years old.

The CIPD and Lucy Herd have been campaigning to extend the law so that employees who experience the loss of a close family member can take appropriate leave from work to grieve or to make suitable arrangements.

Mr Thompson said: “When someone suffers a bereavement it can have a huge impact on their mental health and wellbeing and they might not be able to perform as usual at work. Access to paid bereavement leave can support an employee by giving them time away from work to grieve and assist with any practical matters as necessary."

Claire McCartney, senior resourcing and inclusion adviser at the CIPD said: “While many organisations provide paid bereavement leave to support employees at one of the most difficult times of their lives, this is far from universal and extending the statutory provision is likely to give employees time and space to grieve rather than worrying about paying their bills and financial worries.”

CIPD research found that 75 per cent supported an extension of Jack’s Law.

Lucy Herd, The Grief Educator and mother of Jack said: “When I started this campaign nearly 11 years ago, I had always hoped legislation would be created for everyone to be able to take time off should they need to, in the event of a family death.

“Time is precious and we should not have to worry about taking time off from work because our whole world has altered due to grief. Therefore, we are working towards ensuring Jacks Law is amended, to better protect future families from being told they can’t take ‘time’.”​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​