Belgium’s House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill to extend bereavement leave on Thursday.
The bill, put forth by Nahima Lanjri (CD&V), increases the amount of time a person can take off work in the event of the death of a child or spouse from three days to ten days, with three days to be taken between the death and the funeral of the relative, and seven additional days taken within the year following the death.
The ten days of pay will be fully compensated and will cover self-employed people, civil servants, and regular employees alike.
Long-term foster parents will also be able to apply for this leave.
“Bereavement is an individual process that everyone experiences in their own way. It is crucial that people find their own way to cope with this heavy loss,” said Nahima Lanjri.
“For example, some people want to go back to work straight away to clear their heads, but others need to rest. This is why relatives should be able to choose freely when they take bereavement leave.”
Sophie Thémont (PS) supported the proposal.
“It is probably not yet enough, but it’s already an important advance,” said Thémont.
“It will allow these particularly hard-pressed people to be better supported and recognised in this ordeal and to take a little more time to get through it with a little more serenity.”
The bill requires the approval of the full parliament before moving on to the next stage.