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  1. ITV Report

New 'Jack’s Law' legal right to paid parental bereavement leave announced

Jack Herd’s mother Lucy has been campaigning on the issue since her 23-month-old son Jack drowned in 2010. Credit: PA

Parents who suffer the loss of a child under the age of 18 will be entitled to two weeks’ statutory paid leave from work, the Government has announced.

The new legal right, coming into force from April, is the most generous offer on parental bereavement pay and leave in the world, said ministers.

The regulations will be known as Jack’s Law, in memory of Jack Herd, whose mother Lucy has been campaigning on the issue since her 23-month-old son Jack drowned in a pond in 2010.

She found out the law only allowed Jack’s father three days off work to grieve, one of which had to be the funeral.

Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said: “There can be few worse experiences in life than the loss of a child and I am proud that this Government is delivering Jack’s Law, making us the first country in the word to do so."

Ms Herd told ITV News: "It all seems really surreal at the moment, more so that it's going to be called Jack's Law and it's been a long 10 years."

When she was asked how she reacted when Ms Leadsom confirmed it would be called Jack's law, Ms Herd said: "I cried, there was just tears, there was lots of crying, lots of wailing."

"It was always about making a positive change in Jack's memory but I hadn't even thought that it would've been called Jack's Law."

Clea Harmer, chief executive of SANDS, the stillbirths and neonatal charity said Jack's law is now for many parents a start to the grieving process.

She said: "I think it's really important to understand that two weeks are a space to start the grieving process but clearly it's the start of a life-long journey, a life without your baby and child."

She also urged companies to be flexible and supportive when parents do return back to work.

Lucy has been campaigning on the issue since her 23-month-old son Jack drowned in a pond in 2010. Credit: Family handout

Parents will be able to take the leave as either a single block of two weeks, or as two separate blocks of one week each taken at different times across the first year after their child’s death.

Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey said: “Labour has supported the proposal for parental bereavement leave from its inception, and we welcome this announcement.

“As set out in our Workers’ Rights Manifesto, Labour is calling for bereavement leave for those who have lost a close family member.”

Matthew Percival of the CBI said: “The loss of any child is unimaginably difficult. Offering this flexibility to bereaved parents is something businesses absolutely welcome. Giving time for families to grieve without the worry of what’s going on at work is fundamental.”