A right to grieve for stillborn babies

By Laura TomassiniLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

How many days is the death of a child worth? Governments have been asking themselves this question for years. The current answer: five, if the child is still a minor. In Luxembourg, parents do not receive extra days of mourning for the death of children who die during pregnancy or shortly after birth. A (further) tragedy for affected families.

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It was supposed to finally be a ray of hope, a spark of positivity after a loss that cannot be described in words. But then everything turned out differently than planned. "Four months ago, I lost my first twin baby Raphaël. This Monday, we welcomed our second twin baby son into the world. Unfortunately, he only lived for three days and eight hours. Our little angel passed away in my arms, " Krisztina Laszlo wrote on social media in January.

Krisztina and her partner were meant to finally hold their baby in their arms on 27 March. However, in the last part of her pregnancy, the mother-to-be suffered severe pain, had to undergo emergency surgery and lost her son three days after his premature birth on 15 January, in the 30th week of pregnancy. Gabriel Stéphane was not supposed to or did not want to live more than 72 hours without his twin brother. Since then, nothing has been the same. "Every day is a struggle, " the 26-year-old writes on Instagram.

A flaw in the law

Losing a child is the greatest pain a parent can experience. As if such a stroke of fate wasn't torture enough, Krisztina and her partner are still unable to grieve for their two sons, as they have been in dispute with the Luxembourg health insurance fund (CNS) for months. "They say that I can't take sick leave because I'm on unpaid maternity leave. I have been on uninterrupted sick leave since 13 December, my maternity leave was wrongly approved by the health insurance fund on 12 January and then withdrawn on 23 January. Because of this mistake, I was taken off sick leave, and only then did the CNS realise that they had made a mistake. Now I have no right to any form of state aid, " explains Krisztina.

The young care assistant and administrative secretary has only been under contract since September 2023. As she was therefore not covered by social insurance for six months before the start of her maternity leave, she is not entitled to the latter. (You can read more about this regulation here) Krisztina agrees to this, even if it hurts financially. Her problem: In Luxembourg, the law makes a distinction between maternity leave and its financial compensation, and maternity leave and sick leave cannot be taken at the same time.

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