Govt to legislate for paid leave for bereaved parents
Bereaved parents in Gibraltar will be entitled to two weeks paid leave from work as the Gibraltar Government is set introduce Jack’s Law after it was passed in the United Kingdom.
The legislation was named Jack’s Law in memory of Jack Herd, whose mother, Lucy, campaigned relentlessly on the issue since his death 2010.
The Chief Minister Fabian Picardo expressed his support for this legislation in a statement yesterday.
“In the UK, Lucy Herd has been tireless in her campaign for bereaved parents,” Mr Picardo said.
“She has made the UK Government aware that in the immediate aftermath of a child dying, parents have to cope with their own loss, the grief of their wider family, including other children, as well as a vast amount of administrative paper work and other arrangements.”
“The situation in Gibraltar is no different.”
“I am pleased that my Government has listened to Lucy’s arguments and have taken such speedy
action – indeed, we intent to implement Jack’s Law even before it comes into force in the UK.”
Under this law, working parents who suffer the loss of a child under the age of 18 or who suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy will be entitled to two weeks of statutory leave.
As from February 1, 2020, bereaved parents in Gibraltar will be able to take the leave either as a single block of two weeks or as two separate blocks of one week taken at different times across the first year after their child’s death.
“This means that they can match their leave to the times they need it most, which could be in the early days or over the first anniversary,” a spokesman for the Gibraltar Government added.
This proposed initiative follows the UK’s Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Regulations, which are planned to come into effect on April 6.
Local parent charity BabySTEPPs welcomed the Gibraltar Government’s announcement, adding that this recognition is vital in protecting parents’ need for time and space to process their loss.
And in relation to stillbirth, it ensures that the parents’ needs are also acknowledged, the charity said.
“While we hope that few parents will be in the position to need it, we know that for those who will, this will make a difference and what is a devastating time,” BabySTEPPs said.
The charity thanked the Chief Minister for the quick implementation of this new law, and said it hopes that it can continue to work to develop support for parents going through the devastating loss of a child.
“We would like to see similar provision made for losses at any stage of pregnancy, given recent evidence reiterates the trauma of miscarriage and significant impact on mental health,” the charity added.