AN all-party parliamentary group is calling on the UK Government to introduce measures to guarantee paid leave for bereaved parents as well as help employers provide support.

Around 5000 children die in the UK every year and the group is pushing Westminster to ensure support is given to those who have suffered “such a tragic loss”.

“There is no legal requirement for employers to provide paid leave, meaning millions of families for so many years have had to either put on a brave face or take financial penalties following the death of a child,” said the group’s spokesmen, David Linden, SNP MP for Glasgow East, and Paul Masterton, Conservative MP for East Renfrewshire.

“The psychological impact this must have is unthinkable, and will harm not only the parents but also other children, who may not have the support around them they need.”

With Baby Loss Awareness Week next month and the second reading of the Parental Bereavement Bill due this autumn, the MPs say it is time to bring in new laws.

However, they are urging the Government to go further than just bringing in paid leave by extending psychological support for bereaved parents and by introducing practical support for employers with bereaved employees.

The call comes as the UK Government makes drastic changes to the “widowed parent’s allowance”, which will save the Government around £40 million a year but could leave bereaved spouses more than £12,000 worse off.

Currently widowed parents are entitled to a taxable allowance of up to £487.71 each month until their youngest child is no longer eligible for child benefit.

All three payments are to be replaced by one support payment. Parents will receive a lump sum of £3500 followed by tax free payments of £350 a month for up to 18 months.

Critics of the new scheme say it will hit women hardest.