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Economy Minister Diane Dodds today confirmed she will bring forward dedicated legislation for Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay in Northern Ireland.

The Department for the Economy will now proceed with a consultation on parental bereavement leave and pay.

The consultation follows the recent introduction of Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay legislation in Great Britain.

The Minister said: “Whilst much of our energy at the moment is concentrated on our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that we also progress other priorities.

“I believe that employment law should be compassionate and supportive of parents who find themselves facing this distressing situation.

“Since taking office I have been very keen to put in place provision for Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay legislation in Northern Ireland so that parents can access this support if they need it. Under my proposals workers who suffer the loss of a child will have a statutory entitlement to two weeks’ leave and, in most cases, a statutory payment.

“After securing the agreement of the Executive, and subject to the views of my departmental Committee, I will be launching a public consultation to seek views on my proposal.

“The views of stakeholders and the wider public are very important and I want to make sure we take them into account as we commence the legislative process.”

The Minister added: “Any new measures will require legislation approved by the Assembly. This consultation is a key milestone in moving that process forward.”

The consultation will be published on the Department for the Economy website and nidirect.