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MPs vote unanimously to extend bereavement leave

10:14 21/06/2021

A bill to extend paid bereavement leave from three days to 10 has been unanimously approved by Belgium’s federal parliament.

The draft law was put forward by CD&V MP Nahima Lanjri and will apply in the event of the death of a child or a spouse.

Three days can be taken off work between the death and the funeral of the loved one, and seven days at any time in the year following the death.

These 10 days will be remunerated at 100% and this bereavement leave is applicable to employees, the self-employed and civil servants. Long-term foster parents may also request this leave.

"I am delighted that the bereavement leave is finally extended," Lanjri said. “Grieving is an individual process that everyone experiences in their own way. It is crucial that people be able to find their own way of dealing with such a heavy loss.

“For example, some people want to go back to work right away, others need to take a break. That is why relatives should be able to freely choose when to take bereavement leave.”

For Sophie Thémont, a Socialist party MP who supported the proposal, "it is probably still not enough but it is an important step forward”.

She added: “This will allow those particularly hard-hit people to be better supported and recognised in this ordeal and to take a little more time to get through it with more serenity."

Written by Richard Harris