MP backs Bill to help bereaved parents

Corby and East Northants MP Andy Sawford
Corby and East Northants MP Andy Sawford

Andy Sawford, MP for Corby and East Northants, has sponsored a Bill in the House of Commons which would give parents statutory bereavement leave.

The Bill was introduced on Wednesday (September 4) by the MP for Glasgow South, Tom Harris.

Mr Harris praised the campaign website Jack’s Rainbow, which was set up by Lucy Herd, whose son died aged 23 months. She has launched a petition calling on the Government to change the bereavement leave law.

Supporting the Bill Mr Sawford said: “Most of us can think of nothing more distressing than losing a child but few people realise that time off work, when it’s granted, is entirely at the discretion of the employer.

“Few good employers would deny grieving parents time off in such tragic circumstances, but such leave should be a working parent’s right, not to be given according to their employer’s discretion.

“Many employers act admirably and offer significant amounts of paid bereavement leave. Regrettably, however, some do not.

“There are a large number of cases where employers have fallen far short of their duties.

“I am pleased to be working with Tom Harris and a group of other MPs to sponsor this Bill.”

Mr Harris said: “In response to Lucy’s e-petition calling for statutory bereavement leave, which has attracted almost 22,000 signatures, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said that all requests for leave related to bereavement are best left for employers and their employees to decide between themselves.

“I understand that the amount of leave needed can vary from one individual to another. Some parents will not be able to face going back to work; others may find returning to work a welcome distraction. Grief is not uniform. It affects people in different ways, and each person will need a time specific to them to deal with it.”