[UK] Statutory Parental Bereavement Leave And Pay In Northern Ireland

11 JUN 2020

The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018 gave employees the right to a two week, day 1 right to an entitlement to Statutory Parental Bereavement Leave which wold be paid subject to certain qualifying conditions.  Secondary legislation brought this in from the 6th of April 2020:

  1. The Parental Bereavement Leave Regulations 2020
  2. The Parental Bereavement Pay (General) Regulations 2020

Yet both the Act (primary legislation) and the regulations (secondary legislation) apply in Great Britain only.  This is the only statutory payment not to operate the same across the whole of the UK.

The Global Payroll Association has been following whether Northern Ireland intended to follow suit and make equivalent legislation.  They do not have to, as employment law (and the payments associated with it) are devolved so require the agreement of the Northern Ireland Assembly.  Until January 2020, there had been a 3-year absence of devolution. 

It is perhaps interesting to look at several news sites that have been reporting developments and relate them to how things have been held up due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  These all refer to the Economy Minister Dianne Dodds, someone we have to watch for developments in this area:

  • BBC on the 7th of February 2020 when she indicated that Northern Ireland’s law would be brought into line with those in Great Britain
  • Belfast Telegraph on the 8th of February 2020, again indicating that it was “sensible and compassionate” for Northern Ireland to follow Great Britain’s lead
  • Belfast Telegraph on the 1st of June 2020 indicating it was her “ambition” to introduce it in Northern Ireland but COVID-19 meant a change of priorities 

Global Payroll Association Comment

As members of HMRC’s Statutory Payment Consultation Group, this is something that is on our radar and we will keep looking and asking for developments.  It is absolutely not right to have a statutory payment apply in three of the UK’s nations but not the other one.  Though we have to agree with Mrs Dodds when she said that priorities have changed in the last few month