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Right to ‘day one’ leave for grieving fathers clears the Commons

26 Apr 2024 3 minute read
Photo by StockSnap from Pixabay

Bereaved working fathers will be helped in their “darkest hour” under a proposed law to offer them “day one” leave should their partner die in childbirth.

The Paternity Leave (Bereavement) Bill cleared the House of Commons on Friday after receiving support from Government and Opposition benches at third reading.

The Bill would make access to paternity leave a day one right for partners of a mother who has died, with no continuity of employment test required, in England, Wales and Scotland.

Labour MP Chris Elmore (Ogmore) said there are around 180 maternal deaths within 12 months of childbirth each year in the UK, adding of his Bill: “It is crucial that parents in this position can take time away from work to care for their child without needing to rely solely on the goodwill of their employer.”


He added: “The intention is that a bereaved father or partner will have up to 52 weeks of leave available during the first year of their child’s life, from the day the mother or primary adopter of the child has tragically died.

“This ensures that they can act as the primary caregiver in this crucial first year and that they can focus all their attentions on their new-born child.”

Mr Elmore said regulations would also allow the surviving parents of adopted children and children born through surrogacy arrangements to be included, noting: “As a result, we will be able to offer the benefit of this entitlement to a wider range of parents from when the Bill was first conceived earlier in the year.”

He added: “It will help those people in their darkest hour.”

Business minister Kevin Hollinrake said there is currently no day one leave entitlement for employed fathers and partners, adding: “As such, if a mother dies in the first year of a child’s life, a father or partner who has not met continuity of service requirements for paternity or shared parental leave will not have the statutory right to take leave so they can care for their child.”

He offered the Government’s backing to the Bill, saying: “The new statutory entitlement will offer a lengthy day one leave entitlement to fathers and partners in the event of the death of a mother in the first year after a child’s birth.”

Darren Henry, the Conservative MP for Broxtowe, supported the Bill after previously leading similar efforts to change the law.

He spoke about his constituent Aaron Horsey, who began campaigning for reforms after his wife died during childbirth, leaving him to bring up their son Tim alone.

While Mr Horsey’s employer allowed him leave, MPs heard that others have not received such help.

The Bill will undergo scrutiny in the House of Lords at a later date.

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Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
20 days ago

Dear God! Who needs a bill for this? I know my wonderful current employers would not expect my presence the day after such an awful event but I have worked for at least one who would. You may say well then you do but I say to hell with them – permanently!

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