Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill
On Wednesday 31 January, MPs will consider the Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill, which aims to give those families more time to deal with bereavement.
However CLIC Sargent, the UK’s leading cancer charity for young cancer patients and their families, believes still more can be done to support those families when the worst happens.
Six amendments have been tabled which would; ensure bereavement leave is given at full pay, increase flexibility so leave can be taken up to 52 weeks after a child has died, include children over 18 years, give an extra day of leave for the child's funeral, and scrap the current minimum eligibility criteria so parents who are in a new role qualify for leave.
A real difference
Clare Laxton, Assistant Director for Policy and Influencing at CLIC Sargent, said: “Hearing your child isn’t going to get better and that they are going to die is one of the hardest things any parent will ever have to deal with.
"Every week ten children and young people in the UK die from cancer and it is vital that their families get the help they need.
"We therefore support the introduction of the Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill, which will give families more time to deal with bereavement.
"We believe the tabled amendments would make a real difference to the lives of parents who have suffered the loss of a child. We call on the government to ensure that this Bill supports bereaved families who may have been supporting their child through many years of cancer care."
The charity has written to MPs scrutinising the Bill, calling on them to consider areas where improvements can be made to the Bill to ensure that the support families receive really meets their needs.
Ms Laxton warned that funeral costs still remain a major financial concern for many families dealing with the loss of a child.
“Although help is available through the Social Fund funeral payments scheme, many families are facing high costs for their child’s funeral – often after experiencing the increase in costs of their child’s illness and treatment.
“CLIC Sargent continues to call for a national Children’s Funeral Fund to further support families at this difficult time.”
Download CLIC Sargent's Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill briefing.