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House of Commons Hansard

Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Bill (Money)

13 November 2017
Volume 631

    Queen’s recommendation signified.

  • I beg to move,

    That, for the purposes of any Act resulting from the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Bill, it is expedient to authorise:

    (1) the payment out of money provided by Parliament of any expenditure incurred under or by virtue of the Act by the Treasury; and

    (2) the payment of sums into the Consolidated Fund.

    I pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Kevin Hollinrake) for his work in getting the Bill to this point, and the effort he has put in to engage with stakeholders and Members to ensure it has cross-party support. I would like to take this opportunity to restate the Government’s commitment to the Bill and their desire to see it succeed. The importance of the Bill is clear from the support for it across the House. We should therefore ensure that its financial element is clearly set out for the House to consider.

  • The Bill offers two weeks’ paid leave to any employed parent who loses a child under the age of 18. Employed parents with at least 26 weeks’ continuous service will also be eligible to receive statutory parental bereavement pay. As my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Erdington (Jack Dromey) made clear on Second Reading, Labour supports the Bill entirely.

    The Bill requires this money resolution to proceed because employers will be able to reclaim some or all of their costs from the Government. As the explanatory notes set out, the

    “estimated cost to the Exchequer of 2 weeks’ paid leave at the statutory flat rate (currently £140.98 a week) or 90% of average weekly earnings where that is lower, is £1.77m per year.”

    There will also be a one-off cost to amend Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs’ systems, which is estimated at £1.25 million.

    It is good that the Government have brought forward this money resolution to allow the Bill, which commands support on both sides of the House, to move into Committee. I hope that this is how they intend to proceed on all private Members’ Bills that receive a Second Reading in this Session. I congratulate the hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Kevin Hollinrake) on championing the issue in the Bill and other hon. Members on both sides of the House on their work to ensure that grieving parents get the support they deserve.

  • I thank the Minister for setting out the financial implications of the Bill and for again confirming the Government’s support for it. I, too, am delighted and grateful that there is cross-party support for the Bill. Given such support, I feel confident that it will become an Act and that employed parents who lose a child under the age of 18 will have the right to a minimum of two weeks away from work to grieve. We can all agree that it will reduce the variation in the treatment—sometimes callous treatment —of bereaved parents by employers that sadly we have heard so much about.

    The number of parents faced every year with the tragedy of losing a child is, thankfully, relatively low, so the cost of this important policy is therefore also relatively small. We can all agree that this will be money well spent on such an important provision. I pay tribute to the Minister for giving the Bill her full support. I am pleased to hear her reiterate the Government’s support at such a crucial time and look forward to continuing to work with her and her Department to ensure that the policy works for employers and employees alike.

    It would be remiss of me if I did not pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Colchester (Will Quince), who has helped to guide important conversations on this issue. As I said in previous remarks on the Bill, we should refer to it as Will’s Bill in recognition of his vital contribution. I also thank the all-party group on baby loss for its work and its continued efforts to champion the needs of bereaved parents. It is important that the momentum behind the Bill is maintained, and I urge all Members to support the money resolution.

    Question put and agreed to.