Unite has called on the government to extend bereavement leave to those who have lost a close relative or suffered a miscarriage following the announcement today (January 23) that grieving parents will be entitled to two weeks statutory leave.
The new legislation, which is known as Jack’s Law and will come into force in April, means parents who have lost a child will be entitled to two weeks statutory paid leave from work.
Unite assistant general secretary Diana Holland said, “Jack’s Law is a welcome first step in providing leave for people who have suffered a bereavement. Legislation must now be extended to include leave for those who have lost a close family member or are dealing with the grief of miscarriage.
“Where the union has negotiated bereavement and miscarriage leave policies, there are protections,” she added. “In other workplaces, people can feel isolated and be pressured into working or even risk their job by taking the time they need.
“It is not enough to rely on the kindness of employers to ensure that people are given the time to process their loss. Bereaved workers are being forced to return to work before they have had even the semblance of a chance to recover, especially in industries where exploitative or insecure working practices are rife.
“Not only is this inhumane but for those working with heavy machinery or in hazardous environments it is a safety issue too.”