New parental leave rules in England with 'devastating' loophole closed

A bereaved father has won a change to parental leave law in three UK nations. After his wife died in childbirth, Aaron Horsey found he did not have automatic right to paternity leave but the paternity leave (bereavement) bill was one of the last bills passed before the general election on July 4.

Mr Horsey tragically lost wife, Bernadette, 31, while giving birth to their son, Tim, at Royal Derby hospital in 2022. But because he had worked for his company for less than nine months, he did not have the automatic right to paternity or parental leave.

“Every time I think about it, it’s still quite devastating to realise that for it to help anybody they will have to be in the same circumstances,” Mr Horsey said to the Guardian. “But because of this law, support is going to be there for those people and for their employers.”

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“It’s the first time I have felt anxious when a general election has been called,” Horsey said. “I wasn’t sure I had it in me to start all over again.” He added: “This law is only going to impact a very small number of people, but for those that it does, the impact will be huge."

"With an election coming up, it’s easy to think there’s a constant Labour versus Conservative battle going on. But this highlights that politicians can and do work together, and there are people who are working hard for us," he went on to say.

“I would prefer not to have faced this situation,” he said to the national newspaper this week. He added: “But I did, and my wife’s impact on me as a person has provided that inspiration to see it through. And hopefully I have also shown Tim that you can make a change.”