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Health & Fitness Parental Bereavement Leave: 'Two weeks is never going to be enough time to grieve a child but it will help'

14:55  24 january  2020
14:55  24 january  2020 Source:   uk.style.yahoo.com

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Parents will be able to take the leave as either a single block of two weeks , or as Giving time for families to grieve without the worry of what’s going on at work is fundamental.” It would be fantastic to see this legislation improved even further with the creation of a parental bereavement allowance

Government launches 'Jack's Law' to give bereaved parents two paid weeks off work if they lose a child under the age of 18. Offering this flexibility to bereaved parents is something businesses absolutely welcome. Giving time for families to grieve without the worry of what's going on at work is

Parents who lose a child will soon be entitled to two weeks paid bereavement leave [Photo: Getty] Parents who lose a child will soon be entitled to two weeks paid bereavement leave [Photo: Getty]

Can you imagine going through the pain of losing your child, then having to go back to work just three days later?

Believe it or not, there is currently no automatic right to paid time off for bereavement, even if you’re a parent who has just lost their son or daughter.

But all that is about to change as parents who suffer the loss of a child under the age of 18 will soon be entitled to two weeks’ statutory paid leave from work.

The new legal right, which comes into force from April, will be known as Jack’s Law, in memory of Jack Herd, whose mother Lucy has been campaigning on the issue since her 23-month-old son Jack drowned in a pond in 2010.

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Parents who lose a child will receive two weeks paid bereavement leave under new government rules. The law will come into force in April, with the UK It will be known as Jack's Law, in memory of Jack Herd, whose mother Lucy has been campaigning for reform since her 23-month-old son Jack

Parents and primary carers who suffer the loss of a child will be entitled to at least two weeks ’ paid parental bereavement leave from April 2020 Under the Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave ) Act, primary carers – not just parents – will be entitled to time off work following the death of a child .

When she was going through her own heartbreaking loss, Lucy was shocked to learn the law only allowed Jack’s father three days off work to grieve, one of which had to be the funeral.

So she set about trying to change things so that other parents could be given the time they need to grieve without suffering financially.

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a boy holding a teddy bear: Henry Allen was diagnosed with High Risk Neuroblastoma, an aggressive childhood cancer that affects nerve tissue [Photo: Supplied by Dawn Allen] © Provided by Yahoo! Style UK Henry Allen was diagnosed with High Risk Neuroblastoma, an aggressive childhood cancer that affects nerve tissue [Photo: Supplied by Dawn Allen]

Sadly the law change has come too late for Dawn Allen, 42 and her husband Mark, 41, whose son, Henry died from neuroblastoma, a rare form of childhood cancer, at the age of just four.

Dawn tells Yahoo UK that the law would have made a massive difference to the couple both financially and emotionally when they lost their son in October 2013.

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parental bereavement leave is the first of a raft of new employment reforms to make the UK the best place in the world to work and to start a business. Parents who suffer the devastating loss of a child will be entitled to 2 weeks ’ statutory leave , Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom announced today as

A second reading of the Parental Bereavement Leave Bill takes place in the House of Commons today, October 28. It was brought by MP Will Quince, whose own baby son And that ’s why she is still campaigning on behalf of every parent who has lost a child . Who’ll never be ‘over it ,’ but is gradually

While she had left her job to care for Henry during his treatment, her husband Mark had to go straight back to work following the death of their son, who Dawn describes as her ‘superhero’.

“Jack’s law really would have helped us when Henry died,” she says. “It would have lifted a bit of weight for us.”

“The financial impact on us was massive,” Dawn continues. “We had family paying our mortgage to try and keep our house, friends and family leaving dinners on our doorsteps, but we wouldn’t have had anything otherwise.”

The couple worried that if Mark didn’t go straight back to work then he might lose his job, which would have made their financial situation even more difficult.

“Our home was our sanctuary and if we’d lost it we’d have lost Henry’s memories,” she says.

“Sadly, I do know a lot of parents who have actually lost their home after losing a child and that’s a horrific reality of child loss in the UK.”

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“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 .” “While most employers are compassionate and generous in these situations, some are not, so I was delighted to be able to help make leave for

To give them time to sort out funerals, family arrangements and care for others left behind, the result has to be not only a I took two weeks off before I returned to a radio studio, and several more before I could write again. A family friend had passed away, leaving a young wife and three small children .

Unsurprisingly, Dawn describes the experience of losing her son as “horrific”, and says the process was made all the more difficult after Mark’s return to employment.

“I didn’t want Mark to go back to work when Henry passed away because I needed that security of him being there,” she explains.

“I felt so alone and I don’t think that helped with our grieving process.”

Now Dawn welcomes the fact that in future, parents who lose a child will receive two weeks’ paid bereavement leave under new government rules.

“Two weeks is never going to be long enough but those two weeks will give parents some kind of breathing space. And I know that sounds silly because you feel like you’re never going to breathe again.

“I definitely think it would have helped us and relieved a bit of the pressure.”

Under the new law, parents who lose a child under the age of 18 will be able to take leave as either a single block of two weeks, or as two separate blocks of one week each across the first year after the death.

The flexibility to take the leave at a time that suits the parents is something Dawn believes will be really beneficial.

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Last week, the Government have published their Parental Bereavement Leave bill – ( parental Child Bereavement UK provide advice and support for parents suffering the loss of a child or Hopefully, even though 2 weeks doesn’t seem like very much, it will go towards helping them, and in

The right to parental bereavement leave and pay makes the UK one of a very few countries worldwide to offer such support, and the first to offer a full two weeks . It will come into force on 6 April 2020, subject to Parliamentary approval of the legislation being laid today. Parents employed in a job for six

“You might not need the leave right away, but just knowing that it is there for you to take when you need it is a massive thing,” she says.

“Parents might choose to take time off to celebrate their child around their birthday or their anniversary,” she explains. “I don’t think people truly realise the impact of those dates, that are forever etched in your mind.”

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a person holding a dog posing for the camera: Dawn and her husband Mark welcome the new bereavement leave [Photo: Supplied by Dawn Allen] © Provided by Yahoo! Style UK Dawn and her husband Mark welcome the new bereavement leave [Photo: Supplied by Dawn Allen]

While Dawn believes the new law will have a huge impact on grieving families, she would like to see the government take things further.

“Jack’s law forces employers to be more supportive of bereavement within the workplace, but you can’t put a time frame on the grieving process, so more needs to be done to support employees.

“Losing a child leaves such a huge, gaping hole and two weeks, well no time, will ever be long enough, and certainly no amount of money, but it would help if employers take into consideration how the parents are feeling.”

She suggests employers could offer grieving parents additional counselling, something her and Mark benefitted from via Child Bereavement UK, a phased return to work and flexibility to take time off when grieving parents are feeling particularly low.

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Facebook last week doubled its bereavement leave allowance for its staff. Employees can now take up to 20 days off with pay to mourn the death of an immediate family member. Mr Wilson believes Facebook's bereavement leave policy is unusual and doubts it will be adopted widely.

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“Sometimes the grief comes over you like a wave and you don’t know when that is going to happen,” she explains. “You can be going along for days and weeks and everything is fine but then you hit an anniversary or birthday or something could trigger it and then it hits you.

“So that’s something employers could think about in terms of offering support.

“Maybe jobs could also be kept open for parents who do need to take time off so you don’t feel fearful that you’re going to lose your job,” she adds.

Dawn now runs a charity, The Henry Allen Trust, which helps other parents impacted by childhood cancer.

She hopes the introduction of Jack’s law will be the start of further support offered to those who sadly lose a child.

“Lucy, Jack’s mum, has been amazing in campaigning for this for a whole ten years, but now we need to support her and keep on campaigning and keep the pressure on the government.

“Because new parental bereavement is horrific and we need to be doing more to supporting those going through it.”

For bereavement support and information call Child Bereavement UK's National Helpline on 0800 02 888 40 (Monday-Friday 9am-5pm) or email support@childbereavementuk.org. You can also contact the Helpline via Live Chat (Monday 9am-5pm).  Click on the blue 'Chat with us' icon on the website www.childbereavementuk.org

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