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A Westminster Hall Debate has been scheduled for Wednesday 6 December on fatalities in childbirth and statutory leave and pay. The debate will be opened by Darren Henry, Conservative MP for Broxtowe.

Parental leave in cases of child death or stillbirth

In cases where a child dies before the age of 18, or where a baby is stillborn, both parents are entitled to take up to two weeks of paid Statutory Parental Bereavement Leave. This right was introduced by the regulations passed under the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018.

In addition to Statutory Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay, parents may still be entitled to take ordinary forms of parental leave in cases of stillbirth or neonatal death. The charity Maternity Action has a guidance page Miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death – rights to time off and pay which explains how these rights operate in such cases.

Parental leave in cases of maternal death

In cases where a mother dies in childbirth or afterwards, the surviving parent can still take Shared Parental Leave, potentially up to 52 weeks of leave and 39 weeks of pay, minus any weeks already taken by the birth mother before her death. To be eligible, however, the surviving parent must still meet the eligibility criteria, including having at least 26 weeks continuous employment.

In December 2022 Darren Henry MP (Con) introduced theShared Parental Leave and Pay (Bereavement) Bill 2022-23, under the Ten Minute Rule, which would have removed this qualifying employment period in cases of maternal death, making access to Shared Parental Leave and Pay in such cases a day-one right. The Bill did not receive a second reading and fell at the end of the 2022-23 session.

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