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Push To Provide Parents Of Stillborn Babies With Paid Parental Leave

There's pressure on the Federal Government to change legislation to provide paid parental leave for parents of stillborn babies, because "They need the same time and financial support."

Kate Lynch, CEO of the Stillbirth Foundation Australia told 10 daily that these parents also deserve the financial support and certainty that other parents receive.

“Stillbirth is one of the most traumatic events that a parent can face. In addition to the grief of having to organise a funeral instead of a nursery, you also get the normal postpartum and other physical symptoms of birth," she said.

"This can include milk coming in and drying up, bleeding and soreness, and that is before you can get to post-natal depression."

Six babies are stillborn in Australia every day, and in 40 percent of cases, the cause of death is unknown.

Pregnancy
Photo: Getty Images

According to the Department of Human Services, parents of stillborn children are entitled to paid parental leave.

"In cases of stillbirth or infant death, eligible employees will continue to get their Parental Leave Pay," the department website reads.

"They won’t lose their Parental Leave Pay if they return to work before their Paid Parental Leave period ends."

But whether parents actually receive paid leave after a stillbirth is at the discretion of their employers.

“Corporate parental policies need to be reviewed to ensure that parents of stillborn babies receive the same entitlements as all parents,” Lynch said.

A Stillbirth Foundation joint study with PwC into the economic cost of stillbirth demonstrated that productivity after a stillbirth is only at 26 percent after 30 days.

Sad Couple
Photo: Getty Images.

Network 10's own Anglea Bishop threw her support behind the cause. She said on Thursday that she couldn't imagine losing a child, especially being a mother herself.

"To me, that would be the most indescribable grief after carrying a child to then lose it," Bishop said on Studio 10.

"100 percent behind it. I do think that grieving time is absolutely crucial and if you think about it, the businesses that are employing these women would have factored in that maternity leave anyway."

Angela Bishop
Bishop threw her support behind the idea on Studio 10. Photo: Studio 10.

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Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter will reportedly consider universal paid leave for parents of stillborn children.

Contact Siobhan at skenna@networkten.com.au