Rights and benefits after a neonatal death

Find out your maternity rights and what benefits you’re entitled to if your baby dies within 28 days of the birth.

It can be difficult thinking about practicalities and finances when your baby has died and everything is so raw. However, it’s useful to know 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.

Mothers are entitled to 52 weeks’ Maternity Leave

You are entitled to the full 52 weeks of Maternity Leave if your baby dies shortly after birth.

For Shared Parental Leave the mother has to opt out of her maternity leave and give notice to her employers of when her maternity leave will end. If notice has not already been given before the baby dies, the other partner is no longer entitled to shared parental leave and pay.

If a baby dies and parents have already opted into shared parental leave and pay, you are still able to take any leave you have already booked but are no longer entitled to any leave they have not already booked with their employers.

Read more here about returning to work after losing a baby

Leave and financial help you are entitled to after a neonatal death

  • Statutory Maternity Pay: Your right to maternity pay is as it would be if the baby had survived.
  • Maternity Allowance Your right to maternity allowance is as it would be if the baby had survived.
  • Statutory Paternity Pay Your right to paternity pay is as it would be if the baby had survived.
  • Shared Parental Leave Payments This only applies now if your leave has already been booked and notice given to employer. No new periods of leave can be booked.
  • Child Benefit You are eligible to Child Benefit for 8 weeks, starting from when a baby died. Claims can be put in three months after this date..
  • Child Tax Credit You may be able to claim tax credits from the time your baby died for 8 weeks
  • Sure Start maternity grant Your right to Sure Start maternity grants is as it would be if the baby had survived.
  • Free prescriptions and dental treatment Your right to free prescriptions and dental treatment is as it would be if the baby had survived
  • Healthy start vouchers You are not eligible but any vouchers you have already claimed can be used

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 one or two consecutive weeks’ Paternity 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.

This booklet called ‘Late miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death – A guide to the financial help available’, by the Money Advice Service breaks down all the information here in more detail.

You’ll find more information and advice on rights and benefits.

Helpful organisations:

Government websites

Money Advice Service

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]

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Last reviewed on October 4th, 2018. Next review date October 4th, 2021.

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