Bereavement grant is for parents who are studying full-time or not participating in the labour market, or in an employment ratio less than 25% and suffer the loss of a child under 18 years of age. A right to bereavement grant is also acquired due to miscarriage after 18 weeks of pregnancy, and stillbirth after 22 weeks of pregnancy. The Act on Bereavement Grant takes effect on January 1st 2023, and applies to parents who suffer the loss of a child, stillbirth or miscarriage on January 1st or later.
Duration of bereavement leave
Parents who are not participating in the labour market or have been studying full-time, acquire an independent right to bereavement grant for up to six months from the day they suffer the loss of a child.
Parents who are not participating in the labour market or have been studying full-time, acquire an independent right to bereavement grant for up to three months from the day of stillbirth after 22 weeks of pregnancy.
Parents who are not participating in the labour market or have been studying full-time, acquire an independent right to bereavement grant for up to two months from the day of miscarriage after 18 weeks of pregnancy.
The start date of bereavement leave and when an entitlement expires
A right to bereavement grant is acquired the day the parent suffers the loss of a child, and it expires 24 months later. It is permitted to start receiving a bereavement grant on the first day of the month the parent suffers the loss of a child.
Bereavement grant for students
Full-time study is considered to be 75-100% continuous study, practical or theoretical, in a recognized educational institution within the general education system in Iceland that lasts for at least 6 months. Furthermore, this refers to 75–100% studies at university level and other studies which make the same demands as university studies regarding preparatory education. Individual courses shall not be regarded as studies.
A parent must have been enrolled in full time studies for at least 6 months in the last 12 months before the loss of a child, stillbirth or miscarriage and have met the relevant academic requirements during that time. In most cases, this means that the parent must return at least two semesters in whole or in part to fulfill the requirement of full-time study for 6 months.
Parents should submit confirmations from the school in question that they have been registered as full-time students, and have met the requirements regarding academic progress during that period. It is permitted to take into account the practice of studies instead of academic results in the school term in which a loss of a child, stillbirth or miscarriage occurs.
Exceptions to the requirement of full-time studies
When a parent has been working continuously in the domestic labour market until the commencement of the studies, provided that the continuous work and studies have been ongoing for at least six months.
When the parent has completed at least one semester and has since been working continuously in the domestic labour market. The condition is that studies and work have been continuous for at least 6 months.
When it is the parents’ last semester of studies and they are finishing a degree.
When parents have received payments according to the Act on Payments to Parents of Chronically Ill or Severely Disabled Children, or would have been entitled to such payments if they had applied for them to The Social Insurance Administration. In such instances parents should submit confirmation from the school that they have been registered as full time students.
When a parent has not been able to study due to illness or accident. Parents shall provide a certificate from the specialist doctor who has taken care of them as a confirmation, and the original certificate shall be submitted to The Directorate of Labour. Parents shall also submit a confirmation from the school that they have been registered as full-time students.
Legal domicile requirements
A parent must have legal domicile in Iceland at the time of a loss of a child, stillbirth or miscarriage and have had legal domicile in Iceland for the last 12 months before that time.
If a parent has resided in another EEA member state during the aforementioned 12 month period, it is taken into account that the parent had legal residence in Iceland at the time of the loss of a child, stillbirth or miscarriage, and that no more than a month has passed since the insurance period ended in that state. In such instances, a parent shall submit a S-041 certificate with their application which confirms their legal residence and accrued insurance in another EEA state.
Parents who have received a residence permit in Iceland on the grounds of international protection or on the grounds of humanitarian reasons according to the law on foreigners, may be entitled to a bereavement grant even though they did not have a legal residence in this country for the last twelve months before the loss of a child, stillbirth or miscarriage, as long as less than twelve months have passed since the residence permit was granted.
In cases of students’ bereavement grants, an exemption from the legal domicile condition may be granted if a parent has moved their legal domicile temporarily due to studying abroad and has had a legal domicile in this country continuously for at least 5 years prior to moving abroad. The same applies when a parent has moved their legal domicile temporarily, and is studying at a distance at an Icelandic school and has had a legal domicile in Iceland for at least 5 years prior to moving abroad.
Parents of a child
A parent and/or the custodian of a child has a right to a bereavement grant according to provisions of The Act on Children, as well as others who have performed duties as parents of a child for a longer period than 12 months before the loss of a child. Therefore, a stepparent or a foster parent can have the right to a bereavement grant if the parent has been registered in cohabitation or married to a parent/custodian of a child, or if the child has been in their foster care for a longer period than 12 months before the loss of a child.
The Directorate of Labour’s service center in Hvammstangi provides further information about who is considered a parent of a child.*