Bereaved parents deserve time to grieve - let's help them get it

Read Together for Short Lives' briefing for MPs ahead of the Second Reading debate of the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Bill on Friday 20 October 2017 here.

Coming to term with a child’s death is unbearable, but many families don’t get any paid bereavement leave from work and face financial hardship.

Hearing the news that your child will die young is devastating. Together for Short Lives wants to help families make the most of every moment they have with their child – no matter how short that time will be.

But one day families will have to face the heart-breaking moment when their child dies. Many families will need additional time off work as their child approaches their end of life. Families want to be there for their child and other siblings as this incredibly distressing time.

Coming to terms with a child’s death is unbearable for parents, siblings and all the family. Bereavement and grief can last a lifetime and families need extra support.

Yet, when these families need help the most, there is a void. There is no paid statutory bereavement leave for parents. We want this to change so that all families can have at least two weeks’ statutory leave.

On top of coming to terms with their child’s death, families face the additional financial burden of paying for their child’s funeral. To be left worrying about money, whilst grieving for your child is unthinkable. Average funeral costs have increased above inflation. For example, the Royal London found that funeral costs have increased above inflation for the past 35 years and in 2015 the average cost was £3,702 – up 3.9% from the year before. Families should be able to grieve without facing financial hardship. That’s why we’re working with the Funeral alliance to lobby for everyone to have access to a meaningful, affordable funeral.

  • We want parents to have time to grieve, so we are calling on the UK government to give bereaved parents at least two weeks’ statutory leave following the death of their child. 
  • We support the Parental Bereavement Leave (Statutory Entitlement) Bill 2016-17.
  • We want the UK government to make child deaths exempt from the new death certification fees structure.