A GRIEVING mum is pressing the Government for change over a lack of support for bereaved self-employed parents.

Leila and Barry Hobart, of Silver End, lost newborn son Oscar hours after he was born prematurely at 23 weeks last month.

But having taken time away from work to deal with the loss of her son, self-employed personal trainer Leila learned she is eligible for very little financial support from the Government.

The 32-year-old said: “I quickly found I was entitled to very little support through any schemes.

“I found the bereavement support payment which supports bereaved partners but nothing for bereaved parents who are self-employed.”

Braintree and Witham Times: Family - Leila and Barry Hobart with their son OscarFamily - Leila and Barry Hobart with their son Oscar (Image: Leila Hobart)

Leila is entitled to claim employment and support allowance at a maximum of £84.80 a week, and the minimum amount of maternity allowance available to self-employed mums, which is £27 a week for 39 weeks.

She has now turned her attention to raising awareness of the issue and has launched a government petition which has amassed more than 3,000 signatures in less than two weeks.

She added: “I want the Government to have a look at this and review this because there is no help, and I’m going through a grieving process before I can go back to work.

“It’s a huge injustice. Parents should be allowed to have the time to grieve and to be able to process everything.

“To have the financial pressure on top of that, especially with the current economic climate, is difficult.

“We’re trying to focus on grieving and looking after ourselves and putting us in a position where we’re better enough to move forwards, but I’ve also got a financial pressure and I’m wondering how long my customers will stay around for.”

The couple is grateful to 36-year-old Barry’s “very supportive” employer for continuing to pay his full salary but acknowledges their finances would be completely strained if they were both self-employed.

The petition is the start of a bigger movement for Leila, who is planning to organise a baby loss awareness week with the support of other Witham business owners in October.

The Government will respond to the petition if it reaches 10,000 signatures. To sign it, visit petition.parliament.uk/petitions/641364.