26 September 2023

Mourning parents win parental leave

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Families dealing with the trauma of stillbirths, infant deaths and premature births are to have access to improved unpaid parental leave entitlements following legislation passed by Parliament last week (12 November).

Attorney-General, Christian Porter said the Fair Work Amendment (Improving Unpaid Parental Leave for Parents of Stillborn Babies and Other Measures) Bill 2020 provided certainty to parents whose babies were stillborn by guaranteeing an entitlement to 12-months of unpaid parental leave.

“This will give parents the time and space they need to grieve the loss of their baby, without having to worry about returning to work before they are ready to do so,” Mr Porter said.

“For parents of premature babies, or newborns that experience birth-related complications that result in immediate hospitalisation, the Government has also removed a barrier that prevented them from going back to work while their child remained in hospital, and then restarting their unpaid parental leave when their baby came home,” he said.

“Additionally, parents will now be allowed to use up to 30 days of their existing entitlement to 12 months unpaid parental leave on a flexible basis (in days or weeks) any time up to two years after the birth or adoption of a child.”

Mr Porter said the legislation complemented recent changes to the Stillborn Baby Payment, due to start on 1 January, which provides improved support to families dealing with the personal, social and financial impacts of the loss of a child.

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