Skip to main content

Extension of statutory paid bereavement leave

Volume 688: debated on Tuesday 2 February 2021

The petition states:

The petition of residents of the constituency of North Ayrshire and Arran,

Declares that, given the huge toll of the coronavirus pandemic, there is an urgent need to extend statutory paid bereavement leave to all employees upon the loss of a close family member or partner; further declares that the welcome introduction of paid bereavement leave for parents on the loss of a child up to the age of 18 years old did not go far enough; notes that there is recent research which finds that grief experienced by employees who have lost a loved one costs the UK economy £23 billion per year, and costs the Treasury nearly £8 billion per year; further declares that many employers are supportive and understanding when an employee suffers a close bereavement, but without any statutory rights for employees to paid bereavement leave, the time and space to grieve for many people is determined by the goodwill of their employer; further that the discretionary nature of current arrangements means potentially thousands of employees will be unable to take leave without fearing that it could undermine their job security; further that it is concerning that bereaved people in low paid jobs are far less likely to receive paid time off or any compassionate leave at all; further that these people are at greater risk of losing their job for taking time off, and that it is grossly unfair for them to struggle with the immediate financial impact of bereavement while experiencing increasing pressure and financial stress; further that bereavement can trigger mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorders, as well as being linked to an increased likelihood of heart attacks, diabetes and increased mortality; and further that while bereavement is a fact of life, if a fraction of the costs associated with it could be mitigated with better support at the right time, we could boost our economy and have a healthier society with a greater sense of wellbeing at its heart.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the UK Government to extend the right to statutory paid bereavement leave to all employees who lose a close family member or partner as a matter of urgency.