Bereavement Leave Regulations 2020
New rights for Bereavement leave from 6 April 2020
Parents (or those who care for the child in their own home in the absence of the parents) will be able to take up to two weeks bereavement leave to help them cope with the death of a child from 6 April 2020. This new statutory right will apply to all employees from when they start employment; however, in order to receive statutory bereavement pay they must have been employed for at least 26 weeks. The rate of statutory bereavement pay will be £151.20 or 90% of their weekly earnings if lower per week.
The right will apply to children who are stillborn (after 24 weeks) and those under the age of 18 years old who die on or after 6 April 2020. The leave can either be taken together or as two separate weeks. If there is a death of more than one child, parents can take statutory bereavement leave for each child.
Employees taking bereavement leave should not suffer any disadvantage by doing so, and their terms and conditions save to normal pay continue whilst they are off.
“Most employers probably allow paid time off in such sad circumstances anyway for the employees general wellbeing, so the introduction of Statutory Bereavement Leave is welcome move to recognise this”.
Casamitjana v The League Against Cruel Sports
For the first time, the Employment Tribunal determined whether ethical veganism should have the same legal protection as philosophical belief, meaning that it would be capable of being protected under the Equality Act 2010 (“EqA”).
By way of background, a claim for discrimination can be brought on the grounds of a protected characteristic under the EqA, which includes age, sex, disability, religious belief, amongst others.
The Claimant brought a claim for discrimination on grounds of his belief in ethical veganism. In order for his discrimination claim to succeed, the Tribunal had to decide on whether ethical veganism could be a protected characteristic for the purposes of the Act.
Ethical veganism, according to the Vegan Society is:
“A way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose”
This is different to dietary vegans who may choose a plant based diet for individual health reasons. Ethical vegans, on the other hand, will avoid any form of animal exploitation by avoiding wearing wool or leather, and by not using products which have been tested on animals. In the Claimant’s case, for example, he would walk rather than take a bus to avoid harm to birds and insects.
To classify as a philosophical belief under EqA, a belief must:
- Be genuinely held
- Be a belief rather than an opinion/viewpoint
- Be a weighty and substantial aspect of human life and behaviour
- Attain a certain level of cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance
- Be worthy of respect in a democratic society, not be incompatible with human dignity and not conflict with the fundamental rights of others
- Have a similar status or cogency to a religious belief
The Tribunal decided that ethical veganism met the above criteria and therefore is a protected characteristic. It is worth mentioning that vegetarianism was not found to be a protected characteristic in a separate case, because the Tribunal found that there were many different reasons why someone might choose to be a vegetarian.
Whilst this is a first instance Tribunal decision, it is an important development to note, given the ongoing trend in veganism. Employers in the travel industry should be aware of this case not only in relation to their own staff, but from the perspective of guests going on holidays who may be ethical vegans, to avoid any discrimination claims.
Increase to Statutory Rates
The current rates are 148.68 (or 90% of the employees average weekly earnings if this figure is less than the statutory rate). From April 2020, the rates will increase to £151.20.
From April 2020, the rate of statutory sick pay will also increase from £94.25 to £95.85.
For further details please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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