Sue Ryder reacts to the Queen’s Speech 2022

Today, we listened to the Queen’s Speech marking the State Opening of Parliament. After over two years of waiting for a promised Employment Bill, we were disappointed to see that this was again not announced in the Queen’s Speech.

A Sue Ryder umbrella held up outside the Houses of Parliament

At Sue Ryder we believe that the Government should introduce a legal right to a minimum of two weeks bereavement leave for the death of an immediate family member (1). Bringing forth this Bill would have provided the opportunity for the introduction of a legal right to  bereavement leave.

Heidi Travis, Chief Executive at Sue Ryder, said:

“The Government should not delay on this any longer, everyday people experience bereavement without the reassurance that they will get sufficient time off work, making an incredibly difficult time even harder. The Government must urgently consider ways to introduce this support. 

“Sue Ryder is ready to work with the Government to help improve bereavement support across society.”

Currently, unless someone loses a child under 18, employees have no legal right to paid bereavement leave. How much time people can take off following a bereavement is up to the discretion of their employer, this leads to variation in time off that is given and to some people feeling forced back into work too soon after facing a bereavement. 

Our campaign to introduce bereavement leave has significant public backing. Over 51,500 have added their signature in support of this cause. Sue Ryder research from 2020 (2) found that 62% of people believed that paid leave following the death of a parent, partner, sibling or child should be a week or more, and 42% believed it should be two weeks or more.

The Government must listen to the public and experts in the sector and do more to support bereaved employees. This should include introducing an Employment Bill and a legal right to bereavement leave at the next earliest opportunity.

References

1) An immediate family member would be a spouse or civil partner, partner, parent (including step-parent), sibling (including step-sibling), grandparent or child (including child over the age of 18

2) Sue Ryder's Grief in the workplace 2021 report

Online Bereavement Support

If you are coping with grief, our Online Bereavement Support provides information and advice, qualified counsellors and a community of others with similar experiences.