Economy Minister Diane Dodds today introduced a Bill to the Assembly to legislate for statutory Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay in Northern Ireland.
Speaking about the Bill, the Minister said: “The trauma of losing a child is impossible to overstate, and it is completely understandable that working parents who experience such a bereavement will need the compassion and support of a caring employer.
“Whilst many employers will make provision for paid compassionate leave, it has no statutory protection and may only cover a few days. Under my proposals employees who suffer the loss of a child under the age of eighteen, or a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy, will have a statutory entitlement to two weeks’ leave and, in most cases, working parents will also be entitled to a statutory payment.”
The Minister continued: “My Department carried out a public consultation on Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay between June and August 2020 and I wish to thank once again those individuals and organisations that responded, including those courageous individuals who shared their own stories of personal loss.
“My aim is that the Assembly passes the required primary and secondary legislation so that Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay can be put in place with the minimum of delay. This will bring Northern Ireland in line with similar measures in place in Great Britain and provide an important statutory safety net for working parents who suffer such a profound loss.
“I thank my Executive colleagues and the Speaker for agreeing to the Bill being introduced, and I appeal to my fellow Assembly members to give their support to the Bill.”