Unpaid leave extended to parents of stillborn children

05 February 2020

Labor welcomes the announcement that under the Commonwealth scheme parents of stillborn babies now have access to the same unpaid parental leave that parents of healthy babies have.

Parents of stillborn babies already have the same access to paid parental leave under the Commonwealth scheme. These changes mean parents who devastatingly lose a child due to stillbirth or infant death will be entitled to a maximum of 12 months unpaid leave

However whilst there has been some progress too many private companies have yet to make both 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.

Last year the Senate also passed a motion calling for the equalisation of bereavement payments for parents who experience a stillbirth.

Currently, parents are only eligible for this payment if a babys heart beats after birth. If it beats once, you receive a payment, if your baby is born without a heartbeat, you dont.

Its only fair that the bereavement payment for parents of stillborn children is equal. Likewise, it is only fair for subsequent stillborn baby payments for subsequent stillbirths to be equal. We look forward to the Government making these announcements in the near future.

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. We must do everything to support families through the devastation of such heartbreak.