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Petitions

Volume 688: debated on Tuesday 2 February 2021

Extension of statutory paid bereavement leave

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.

[P002647]

Wage floor to the furlough scheme

The Government currently instruct people to stay at home, but too many simply cannot afford to do so. Ensuring that no one on furlough is paid less than the minimum wage is the least the Government should do, though they should do much more. The following petition is about ensuring that this crisis is not paid for on the backs of low-paid workers. I present to the House of Commons this petition of residents of the United Kingdom, alongside a corresponding petition online, which has gained more than 15,000 signatures on the subject of introducing a wage floor to the furlough scheme.

The petition states:

The petition of residents of the United Kingdom,

Declares that no-one should ever be paid less than the National Minimum Wage; further declares that the Government’s furlough scheme is leaving millions of low-paid workers on less than this basic minimum pay; notes that new official figures show that over two million workers have been paid less than the National Minimum Wage this year; further that this is nearly five times as many workers as in 2019; and further declares that this crisis should not be paid for on the backs of low-paid workers.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to introduce a wage floor in the furlough scheme to ensure that no worker is paid less than the National Minimum Wage.

And the petitioners remain, etc.

[P002648]

I am now going to suspend the House for a few minutes so that the Chamber can be prepared for the next item of business.

Sitting suspended.