COUNCIL employees whose children pass away will get two weeks full-paid bereavement leave after authority bosses said yes to plans to extend their support to grieving parents.

The move follows the introduction of new legislation in April 2020 which gives employees a right to time off after the death of a child.

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A council report read: “The bereavement of a child is a significant loss to an employee.

“The council’s current policy is to pay for up to one-week compassionate leave on full pay.

“Therefore, to enhance the policy to pay for two weeks would ratify Bracknell Forest as a supportive employer.”

The new legislation indicates employees who have been working for the council for less than half-a-year are not entitled to two weeks paid leave following the death of a child.

But Bracknell Forest Council (BFC) will now offer a fortnight’s paid parental bereavement leave to all employees regardless of how long they have worked at the authority for.

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The report continued: “This would be a particularly stressful time for staff and the employee may otherwise be forced to be absent through sick pay if they are not awarded two weeks full pay – regardless of the length of service.”

BFC’s Employment Committee passed the new policy at a meeting on Wednesday, July 8.

Discussing the plans, committee member councillor Colin Dudley said: “Losing a child is obviously one of the worst things that could happen to any parent in their lifetime.

“Two weeks full pay seems the least we can do.

“However, I do feel that at the moment we have quite a few delays for funerals, especially with the amount of activity that’s going on at the moment because of COVID-19.

“I’m just wondering if we should be looking at perhaps an extension of this period for the short-term.

“It may well be that a parent loses a child and can’t actually arrange their final resting for more than two weeks, after which of course they would have to be returning to work or taking leave.”

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Trish Barnard, assistant director of human resources at BFC, said there are other leave options available to parents including compassionate leave and paid special leave, should they need more time off.

She added: “There is a level of flexibility in the policy in that there can be a case-by-case consideration for extra discretionary leave.”