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Government backs parental bereavement leave

News and comment
Poignant image of a heart shaped stone

The government has announced that it is to support a Bill to introduce a legal right to bereavement leave for parents whose child has died.

The Bill, introduced to the House of Commons by Kevin Hollinrake MP, will seek to ensure that grieving parents in employment are guaranteed paid leave to grieve. This builds on the excellent work led by Will Quince MP, who began this campaign during the last parliament. Presently, there is no legal requirement for employers to provide this leave. The Bill will receive its second reading in the Autumn, which will be the first opportunity for MPs to debate the principles of the Bill. Once the Bill has been agreed by the House of Commons, it will then pass to the House of Lords for further scrutiny before becoming law.

Together for Short Lives has been campaigned for the government to introduce this legal right to bereavement leave, as currently it is entirely at the discretion of employers as to whether parents are given time and space to grieve, as well as make funeral arrangements. We have raised this issue parliamentarians from the House of Commons and House of Lords and called for all parties to include parental bereavement leave in their manifestos for the general election 2017.


“We are delighted that the government supports this crucial Bill, which will support parents as they come to terms with the heart-breaking moment when their child dies. Together for Short Lives has been calling on the government to introduce this policy, which will help to support families during this incredibly distressing time. Coming to terms with a child’s death is unbearable for parents, siblings and all the family, yet when these families need help the most, there is a void of support. The present situation is neither fair nor compassionate – it should not be down to the discretion of individual employers as to whether parents should be allowed time off work to grieve for their child and make funeral arrangements. We look forward to this Bill progressing through Parliament and Together for Short Lives will work with parliamentarians debating the new legislation to make sure that it guarantees enough support for parents as they grieve for the loss of their child.”

Shaun Walsh, Director of External Relations at Together for Short Lives

Together for Short Lives also has a range of resources to support parents of children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions from the point of diagnosis, throughout the child’s life, death and beyond. Our Family Companion helps parents to get the care and support that they need, signposting you to the services, agencies and professionals that can provide support.

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