Your rights and benefits after a stillbirth

Find out the maternity rights and benefits that you’re entitled to if your baby is stillborn.

It can be difficult thinking about practicalities and finances when your baby has died and everything is so raw. However, it’s useful to find out what support you’re entitled to because it could offer you some breathing space and allow you some more quiet time to grieve before returning to work.

The hospital or community midwife should have given you a booklet called ‘Late miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death – A guide to the financial help available’, by the Money Advice Service. This breaks down all the information here in more detail.

For parents who lost a baby before 24 weeks

For legal purposes, this is known as a late miscarriage and mums don’t qualify for Maternity Pay. This might feel very unfair if you lost a baby very close to 24 weeks but it is the current situation.

However, you will be entitled to Sick Leave, immediately after the miscarriage. You may need a Fit Note (previously called a Sick Note) from your GP.

If you’ve had a late miscarriage, you should be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay, paid for up to 28 weeks (depending on your employment contract).

In some circumstances, your employer may give you Compassionate Leave and Time Off for Dependants.(TOFD). You are legally entitled to TOFD in certain circumstances, but your entitlement to Compassionate Leave depends on your contract of employment and your employer’s policy.

Dads, or a mum’s female partner (who has the same rights as a father), may be entitled to Sick Leave and Sick Pay, Compassionate Leave or Time Off for Dependants. You’ll need to look at your contract and contact your employer about this.

For parents who lost a baby after 24 weeks, or if the baby was born alive at any stage of pregnancy and then died

  • Mothers are entitled to 52 weeks’ Maternity Leave
  • If you gave birth before your Maternity Leave started, your leave starts the day after you gave birth.
  • You may be entitled to Maternity Pay from your employer, Maternity Allowance, or income-related benefits from the state.

Dads, or partners, may be entitled 1 or 2 consecutive weeks’ Parental Leave from your employer. Sick Leave and Sick Pay, Compassionate Leave or Time Off for Dependants. You will need to look at your contract and contact your employer. From April 2020, parents may also be eligible for Parental Bereavement Leave and Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay if they or their partner had a stillbirth. Parental Bereavement Leave is where an employee can take 2 weeks’ leave from the first day of their employment for each child who was stillborn.You can find more information about Parental Bereavement Leave on the GOV.UK website

More support and information

Government websites

England, Wales, Scotland:
Northern Ireland:

Money Advice Service


Job Centres

Your local Job Centre or JobCentre Plus (in Northern Ireland: Jobs and Benefits Office,
or Social Security Office) can offer information and advice.

Working Families

Freephone helpline: 0800 013 0313
Email: [email protected]

Review dates
Last reviewed: 08 September 2017
Next review: 08 September 2020