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Employment rights when your baby dies

The law recognises the pain and distress that bereaved parents are experiencing and employees qualify for leave or pay if the baby is stillborn after the start of the 24th week of pregnancy or dies after being born. Statutory Maternity and Paternity Leave rights are not affected. You will not be expected to go back to work earlier than you had planned nor will you lose any pay.

Inflexible statutory rules

Unfortunately the rules regarding the death of the child are rather inflexible. One can only hope for flexible and understanding employers.

Shared parental leave and/or pay will not be allowed if the child dies before parents have opted into this arrangement. This is because one of the qualifying conditions is having shared responsibility for the care of the child. If there is no child to care for, the mother remains entitled to maternity leave and pay and the father is entitled to paternity leave/pay.

If the child dies after parents have opted into shared parental leave and/or pay, they each continue to be entitled to take the leave and pay that they booked before the death.

An employee may reduce or cancel a period of leave booked, subject to 8 weeks’ notice.

Advice about employment rights for TCF members

If you need advice or advocacy about your employment rights following the loss of a pre-natal or very early infant death, TCF member and Employment Law specialist Patrick Roberts would be happy to help. He can be contacted at postmaster@patrickroberts.force9.co.uk or 07584 302915.

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Each year thousands of parents suffer the loss of a son or a daughter. Please help us to support families in their time of greatest need.

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