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Employment news in brief - July 2018

Bereavement Leave

Consultation closed in June on the Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill. It’s intention is to give employees who lose a child below the age of 18 (including a still birth after 24 weeks) certain statutory rights the key ones being the right to:

  • At least two weeks’ leave (irrespective of their length of service).
  • At least two weeks’ statutory bereavement pay.
  • Protection from detriment, redundancy and dismissal as a result of them taking bereavement leave.

The Bill provides for a minimum of two weeks’ bereavement leave (pro-rated for part time) to be taken within a period of 56 days (8 weeks), beginning with the date of the child’s death.

The Government notes that it will be important to strike the right balance between flexibility needed to enable bereaved parents to grieve, and the need for employers to have a degree of certainty over when and how their employees can take such leave and pay. Key issues being consulted on are how the leave might be taken and notified and what relationships should benefit from the leave.

At present there is no statutory right to time off when a family member dies although many employers have informal policies.

Employment status

The issue of employment status rumbles on. After the Uber case, the GMB union has launched a legal claim on behalf of drivers who work for three delivery firms used by Amazon, arguing that they are employees (as opposed to independent contractors) and should therefore be entitled to employment rights including paid annual leave, holiday pay and sick pay. The union claim that as the drivers were required to attend scheduled shifts they did not have the flexibility, which is commonly associated with a self-employed worker. The union will also pursue whistleblowing claims against Amazon after two couriers were allegedly dismissed after they raised concerns about working practices (such as excessive working hours).