The Paternity Leave (Bereavement) Act 2024

The Paternity Leave (Bereavement) Act 2024, which received Royal Assent on 24 May 2024, marks a significant milestone in UK Employment Law in providing a support structure for parents during times of bereavement. This one was of the last pieces of legislation to come in to law before Parliament was dissolved.

Overview of the Act

The Paternity Leave (Bereavement) Act 2024 (the ‘Act’) grants working fathers and non-birthing partners automatic rights to immediate paternity leave if the mother, or a person with whom a child is placed or expected to be placed for adoption, regardless of less of service. The primary objective of the Act is to ensure that bereaved fathers and partners receive the necessary support and time off to grieve and manage the implications of such a loss.

Key Provisions of the Act

Scope of Bereavement:
The Act covers situations where the mother dies during childbirth or where a person with whom a child is placed or expected to be placed for adoption dies. This broadens the scope beyond just biological connections, recognising the emotional and practical roles played by adoptive parents.

No Minimum Service Requirement:
The Act stipulates that there are no minimum service requirements for eligibility. This means any father, none birthing partner, or a person with whom a child has been (or is expected to be) placed, is entitled to paternity leave under these specific bereavement circumstances from the first day of employment.

The Act applies to both biological fathers and partners, including those in same-sex relationships and civil partnerships, ensuring inclusivity and recognition of diverse family structures.

Duration of Leave:
While the Act itself does not specify the exact duration of the paternity leave, it is expected that this will be detailed in subsequent regulations. The leave is intended to provide adequate time for the bereaved parent to manage their personal affairs, support any surviving children, and begin the grieving process.

Implementation and Regulations

The Act requires the creation of detailed regulations to bring the new paternity leave rights into force. These regulations will address various practical aspects, including:

Notification Requirements: Guidelines on how and when employees must inform their employers about their need for paternity leave following a bereavement.

Duration and Pay: The length of paternity leave and the rate of pay during this period, which may align with existing statutory paternity pay rates or introduce a new framework specifically for bereavement.

Employer Obligations: The duties and responsibilities of employers in accommodating and supporting employees taking paternity leave under these circumstances, including measures to prevent discrimination or penalisation of bereaved parents.

Context and Implications

The Paternity Leave (Bereavement) Act 2024 marks a progressive step in UK employment law, offering vital support to bereaved fathers and partners at a time of profound loss. By ensuring there is no minimum service requirements and recognising the diverse nature of modern families, the Act underscores the importance of compassionate leave policies. The accompanying regulations are developed will provide further clarity regarding the practical implementation of these new rights which will foster a more supportive and inclusive work environment.

For employers, the Act will require adjustments to existing leave policies and HR practices. Businesses will need to ensure compliance with the new regulations, once implemented, and provide appropriate support to bereaved employees. They should also consider educating  managers and HR personnel on handling such sensitive situations with empathy and care.

How Can Butcher & Barlow Solicitors Help?

The death of a mother can significantly impact the entire family, including their well-being and ability to perform effectively in the workplace. It is recommended that training on parental bereavement awareness and management is provided to HR professionals and line managers within the business. This training ensures that they can provide effective assistance to their team, identify physical and mental indicators, and make appropriate modifications to support bereaved fathers and partners.

Our Employment Law Solicitors can review your business’s policies and processes to ensure they are updated and that HR professionals are correctly guided in the event of such a situation.

For further guidance on how your business can comply with employment law and update internal documentation, please contact Mohammed at or call him on 0161 764 4062.


Mohammed Balal

Mohammed Balal