Labor welcomes the Commonwealth Bank’s announcement that employees who experience stillbirth will now be provided the same paid parental leave as other parents – along with access to other support services.
The Commonwealth Bank is the latest company to afford these important provisions with primary carers able to access 12 weeks of paid parental leave and secondary carers able to access four weeks paid leave.
They join NAB, Bendigo Bank, Australia Post, PWC, Bunnings, ANU and other private companies who have extended such arrangements to mothers and fathers who experience the tragic loss of a child through stillbirth.
Whilst there has been some progress, too many private companies are yet to make these changes.
The bipartisan Senate Stillbirth Inquiry recommended changes to both the Fair Work Act and the National Employment Standards to provide consistency across all employers and employees in Australia. Labor looks forward to the Government making these amendments.
We must remember that paid parental leave is exactly that – parental leave – and parents who give birth to stillborn babies are still parents.
Mothers give birth, they have to recover physically; parents have to recover emotionally and they have to parent their stillborn baby which can include things like autopsies, funerals and counselling.
Stillbirth is the biggest cause of infant death in our country today and the rate of death from stillbirth is higher than the national road toll.
It is also a solitary grief that has been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic and the necessary social distancing restrictions.
We must be doing everything we can to support Australian families mourning their stillborn babies during this pandemic and beyond.
SENATOR KRISTINA KENEALLY
DEPUTY LABOR LEADER IN THE SENATE
SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES
CHRIS BOWEN MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH
MEMBER FOR MCMAHON
CHAIR OF THE SENATE SELECT COMMITTEE ON STILLBIRTH RESEARCH AND EDUCATION
SENATOR FOR NT
SENATOR CATRYNA BILYK
SENATOR FOR TASMANIA