A year off work for families mourning a stillborn child

 

 

Families grieving the loss of a stillborn child will be allowed to take a year off work without losing their job under new laws improving support for parents dealing with trauma.

The federal government will on Thursday introduce legislation to make unpaid leave entitlements for families coping with the premature death of a child the same amount as is available to parents of healthy babies.

Attorney-General Christian Porter said the measures would help the more than 2000 Australian families experience a stillbirth, and the many more who lose a child soon after birth each year.

"This change to unpaid leave entitlements will give these parents the time and space they need to grieve the loss of their baby, without having to worry about returning to work before they're ready to do so," he said.

 

Mother Jacqui Bruyn with her baby boy, Wyatt, aged 10 weeks. Jacqui lost her first baby, Beau, who was stillborn in April 2017. Picture: Justin Lloyd
Mother Jacqui Bruyn with her baby boy, Wyatt, aged 10 weeks. Jacqui lost her first baby, Beau, who was stillborn in April 2017. Picture: Justin Lloyd

 

Mr Porter said the government was also removing a barrier preventing parents from going back to work while their child is in hospital, and then restarting their unpaid parental leave when their baby comes home.

"Parents have told us that not being able to pause their leave while their child is in hospital meant that they had little or no leave left once their baby was ready to come home," he said.

"These changes will give parents that flexibility and ensure they will get to spend quality time at home with their child when the time is right."

Changes will also be made to complement the new flexible Parental Leave Payment to allow employees to use up to 30 days of their existing entitlement to 12 months unpaid parental leave on a flexible basis any time up to two years after the birth or adoption of their child.

Originally published as A year off work for families mourning a stillborn child


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