Guidance

Employee circumstances that affect payment of Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay

What to do when an employee leaves, is reinstated, has a break in employment, works for someone else, is sick or goes abroad.

Employees furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

These rules apply where the employee’s period of family-related statutory pay begins on or after 25 April 2020.

If your employee was on furlough and you paid them with help from the CJRS during any part of the relevant 8 week period, there are different rules about how you work out their AWE.

This is to make sure your employee’s eligibility for Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay is not affected if their wages are lower than normal because of being furloughed.

The earnings used to work out their AWE for the part of the 8 week period that they were furloughed will be the higher of either what they:

  • actually received from their employer
  • would have received from their employer had they not been on furlough

Where it’s not clear what the employee would have received, a helpful starting point is the reference salary used to determine how much you can claim through the CJRS. You can find guidance on working out 80% of your employees wages through the CJRS scheme.

You should also consider payments the employee was due to receive in the relevant period that would have been classed as earnings. This could include:

  • bonus payments
  • commission payments

No changes to how you work out their AWE will be needed where:

  • you’re claiming the employee’s wages through the CJRS but you’re topping them up to full pay at your own cost - the employee’s earnings will not be lower than they would have been
  • as a result of the coronavirus crisis, during the relevant period you agreed a reduction in pay with your employee outside of the CJRS

Employee earnings affected by a backdated pay rise

If your employee gets a backdated pay rise which increases the amount of earnings already paid in the relevant period, you must:

  • recalculate the employee’s average weekly earnings
  • pay any extra Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay due

If your employee was not entitled to Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay you must recalculate their average weekly earnings. You can then check if they may now be entitled and pay any Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay due.

Employee does not qualify for Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay: PAYE settlement agreements

You must recalculate your employee’s average weekly earnings if all of the following apply:

  • their average weekly earnings are less than the lower earnings limit in force at the end of the relevant week
  • they received any expense payments or benefits in kind in the relevant period
  • the expenses or benefits were included in a PAYE settlement agreement

Salary sacrifice

If an employee has entered into a salary sacrifice with you, calculate their average weekly earnings. Use the amount of earnings actually paid to them during the relevant period. Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay cannot be sacrificed and must be paid in full.

Foster carers

Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay may be available to foster carers including those who go on to adopt a child. They must satisfy the qualifying conditions.

Stillbirth

Your employee is entitled to Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay if the baby is stillborn. A stillbirth occurs if the baby is stillborn after the 24th week of pregnancy. The rules are the same as for a live birth.

More than one child dies

Your employer will be entitled to 2 weeks’ parental bereavement leave in respect of each child that dies. If the children die on different dates, the 56 week qualifying period will apply individually to each child.

Employee dies

If your employee dies during the Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay period, you should pay Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay for the week in which they die, but not for any week after that.

Employee leaves job before Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay is taken

If your employee has left their job, they cannot get parental bereavement leave. If they left:

  • before the date of the child’s death or stillbirth, they are not entitled to Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay
  • after the date of the child’s death or stillbirth, they may be entitled to Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay

If your employee left after the child’s date of death or stillbirth, it does not matter why they left or that they’re not coming back. They’re entitled to Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay as long as they do not work for a new employer during the week in which Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay is being claimed.

If the employment ends after the child dies or is stillborn, but before the planned start of the Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay period, you may treat the Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay period as beginning on the day after the last day of employment.

Your employee may choose when to begin their Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay period on or after the date of death, but the period must end within 56 weeks of the date of death.

They can decide to claim Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay in a single block of 2 weeks, or as 2 separate blocks of 1 week each.

Your employee should still give you the required notice and evidence within 28 days, starting with the first day of the week for which Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay is being claimed.

Reinstatement after dismissal

If your employee did not work for you during the period of 26 weeks ending with the week before the one in which the child died or was stillborn because you dismissed them, and either:

  • they are then reinstated because an employment tribunal decides that you dismissed them unfairly
  • you reinstate them as a result of a statutory grievance procedure

they are entitled to Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay as if they had not been dismissed. All the other conditions to entitlement must be satisfied.

Parental bereavement leave is a day one right.

Reinstatement after armed forces service

Your employee may still be able to get Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay if they did not work for you during the continuous employment period. They could be eligible under the Reserve Forces (Safeguard of Employment) Regulations because:

  • they were serving in the armed forces
  • they returned to work within 6 months of the end of their service in the forces

For Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay they must have been continuously employed by you for 26 weeks up to the week before the one in which the child died or was stillborn. Do not count the period they served in the Armed Forces as part of this period.

A week, in this instance, means Sunday to Saturday. Count part weeks as full weeks.

Break in employment

For Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay the employee must:

  • have been continuously employed by you for at least 26 weeks up to the ‘relevant week’ (the week, ending with a Saturday, before the week in which the child died or was stillborn)
  • remain employed by you up to the day on which the child died or was stillborn

Employees with an ongoing contract of service can have a break in employment for any of the reasons below. You should still treat them as continuously employed if the break is due to:

  • temporary cessation of work – including short-term contract or agency workers
  • public holidays – the employee can still get Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay
  • sickness or injury – the employee can get Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay if the total period of incapacity is 26 weeks or less
  • maternity leave – if they work for you before and after the break they can get Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay
  • adoption leave – they were on adoption leave and they worked for you before and after the break, they can get Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay
  • paternity and parental leave - if the employee took this statutory leave and they worked for you before and after the break - they can get Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay

Trade disputes or industrial action

For Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay your employee must have been continuously employed by you for at least 26 weeks. This must be by the end of the relevant week (the week, ending with a Saturday, before the one in which the child died or was stillborn).

You should not include weeks or part weeks as part of the 26 weeks where the employee is absent due to a trade dispute or industrial action. Such weeks or part weeks do not break the continuity of employment.

Non-cash payments

You may normally pay some of your employee’s earnings as a non-cash payment by providing board and lodgings or giving them goods or services. The value of the benefit provided during the Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay period may not be deducted from the statutory pay.You must pay any Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay in full.

Employee goes abroad

If your employee leaves the UK during the Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay period you are still liable to pay statutory pay during their absence. This applies if, for example, they:

  • go on holiday
  • visit relatives living abroad

Employee lives in Northern Ireland

If an employee lives in Northern Ireland and is employed by a company in Great Britain with a contract made under the Employment Rights Act 1996, the employee will be eligible for Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay.

If an employee lives in Northern Ireland and has a contract of employment made under the Employment Rights (Northern Ireland) Order 1996, they will not qualify for Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay.

Employee is not returning to work

If your employee is not returning to work you must still pay them Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay. You cannot ask them to repay it.

Employee becomes sick

If your employee tells you that they‘re sick during the Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay period you must check whether they’re entitled to Statutory Sick Pay or not. You cannot pay them Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay for any Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay week in which they are entitled to be paid Statutory Sick Pay.

You must give them a non-payment of Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay form.

Keep a copy of the declaration of entitlement to Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay made by your employee. You may need to record this as evidence for subsequent periods of Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay. Bear in mind that:

  • Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay weeks can start on any day of the week

  • your employee will not normally be entitled to be paid Statutory Sick Pay from the first day they are incapable of work

Employee works for another employer

If your employee works for another employer during a week that they were claiming Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay from you, you need to check whether they were employed by that employer in the week before the child died or was stillborn.

If your employee works for another employer, you need to check whether they were employed by that employer:

  • during a week in which they are claiming Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay
  • in the week before the child died or was stillborn

It’s up to your employee to tell you that they’re working for another employer.

If your employee is working for someone who employed them in the week before the child died or was stillborn, you should continue to pay them Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay as normal.

If your employee is working for someone who did not employ them in the week before the child died or was stillborn:

  • you must stop paying Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay from the start of that week in which they work for the new employer
  • your liability to pay Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay in that week ends on the last day of the week Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay was paid before they started work for the new employer
  • you must give them the non-payment of Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay form

Keep a copy of the declaration of entitlement to Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay made by your employee. You may need to record this as evidence for subsequent periods of Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay.

You cannot pay Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay for any week your employee is in legal custody or for any week in the pay period after that. You must give them the non-payment of Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay form .

Keep a copy of the declaration of entitlement to Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay made by your employee. You may need to record this as evidence for subsequent periods of Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay.

It’s your employee’s responsibility to tell you if they are taken into legal custody. Your employee is in legal custody if they are detained. Usually this means they are arrested or in prison.

They are not in legal custody if they are:

  • voluntarily helping police with their enquiries
  • out on bail
  • serving a suspended sentence
Published 6 April 2020
Last updated 27 April 2020 + show all updates
  1. Information added on how to work out Average Weekly Earnings for employees furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

  2. Information has been added about how to deal with employees who live in Northern Ireland.

  3. First published.