Consultation role for Staffordshire charity A Child of Mine as founder welcomes Parliamentary breakthrough on leave for bereaved parents

Gayle Routledge

A Staffordshire based charity has been called upon to help shape new Government policy on bereavement leave and pay for parents.

Parents are set to be guaranteed a right to at least two weeks parental bereavement leave after an MP’s Private Member’s Bill successfully passed its Third Reading in the House of Commons on Friday. The Bill, sponsored by Kevin Hollinrake MP, is supported by the Government.

It will be possible for two parents to split the leave period so that two week-long periods of leave may be taken separately and the right to access the leave will be available from day one of employment.

Anyone who has been in a job for 26 weeks or more, and who earns more than £113 a week, will be entitled to paid leave.

Gayle Routledge, Chief Executive of A Child of Mine, has been asked to provide her input into a key stakeholder event as consultation on the implementation of the Bill begins.

“This Bill is a is a positive step forward for bereaved parents,” said Gayle. “While two weeks isn’t really enough, it is significant that the Government has recognised this and is prepared to enshrine it in law.

I understand that there is a burden on employers, but most responsible firms will already allow compassionate leave for parents who have lost a child, and society has to consider the health and wellbeing of bereaved parents. By giving them enough time when they need it, this could prevent further absence from work in the future.”

Kevin Hollinrake MP, who introduced the Bill, said: “This is such an important Bill for parents going through the most terrible of times. There is little any of us can do to help, but at least we can make sure that every employer will give them time to grieve.”
Gayle founded a Child of Mine after her two-year-old son Lewis died of cancer in 2010. The charity has grown to offer support to bereaved families throughout the UK and has established partnerships with major children’s hospitals, including Great Ormond Street, London and Birmingham Children’s Hospital and with hospices, such as the Donna Louise Children’s Hospice, Stoke-on-Trent.
“As a family we were cared for very well throughout Lewis’ illness and death, but I recognised there was a huge gap for many families who felt alone and isolated,” explained Gayle. “I was able to take time out from work prior to Lewis’ death but there are many parents who are not in that position and need support.
A Child of Mine’s work was recognised by the Government in 2017 when Gayle was asked to join discussions led by the Department of Health into how Child Death Review panels are conducted.
The charity is currently looking to the local community for further support and is calling on volunteers to join a Friends of A Child of Mine group. This will support a programme of events and fundraising which will allow A Child of Mine to expand its services for bereaved families.
To seek the support of A Child of Mine please go online to www.achildofmine.org.uk. Details of how to support or donate to the charity are also available via the website. The charity is based at the Hub, Eastgate Street, Stafford.
ENDS
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