Parents of babies who are stillborn or die as infants will be allowed to take up to a year off work to grieve the loss of their child under new workplace entitlements. Source: The Age.
At the moment, these parents can be called back to work after six weeks of leave and employers can cancel any unpaid parental leave they had booked.
They’ll also be able to take compassionate leave – which is paid for permanent employees – as will the immediate family of the child.
The law changes being put to Parliament today will mean their entitlements match the leave parents of healthy babies can access.
Stillbirth Foundation Australia chief executive Leigh Brezler said the long-awaited changes would go a long way to helping remove the stigma around stillbirth.
There are almost 2200 babies stillborn every year in Australia, or about six each day, a rate that hasn’t changed for two decades. Many more families lose their child soon after birth from medical complications.
Attorney-General Christian Porter said the changes addressed recommendations from a Senate committee in 2018 about providing more support to parents at times of tragedy.
Labor frontbencher Kristina Keneally, who has advocated the changes for years, said it would make a huge difference to parents at one of the hardest times in their lives.
The changes will also allow parents of premature babies to pause their scheduled leave while their child is in hospital, after many found they would have little or no leave left once their child was ready to come home.
More leave on offer for grieving parents after stillbirths (By Katina Curtis, The Age)