New Bill Would Create Grief Leave for Parents Who Have Lost a Child

Alþingi Icelandic parliament

The Ministry of Social Affairs is at work on a bill which would create a ‘grief leave’ for parents who have lost a child, RÚV reports. It’s hoped that the drafted bill will be ready to present to parliament by the spring.

Minister for Social Affairs and Children Ásmundur Einar Daðason previously explained that the grief leave would expand on rights already in place for people living in Iceland, such as parental leave when a child is born. The ministry is also considering making provisions for parents who have recently been widowed.

In June, Ásmundur Einar said this initiative, like many others, had been put on the back burner while the government shifted its focus to coronavirus-related legislation. Ministry experts have since been able to return their attention to the proposal, however, and a draft of the proposed bill is in progress.

Iceland Airwaves Postponed Until 2021

This year’s Iceland Airwaves music festival will be postponed until 2021. Per an announcement on the Airwaves website, organizers “reviewed many scenarios: with social distancing; with lower attendance; with less venues” and came to the conclusion that “there was no feasible solution to deliver the festival safely.” Ticket holders for this year’s festival fear not, however: 2020 tickets will be valid for Airwaves next year.

The 2020 Airwaves lineup will stay in place for next year’s festival and includes an additional 25 new acts that were announced on Wednesday. International acts Crack Cloud (Canada), Porridge Radio (England), Balming Tiger (South Korea), and Faux Real (France/US) will play Airwaves next year, along with Icelandic favourites Bríet, HipSumHaps, GDRN, and “beloved troubadour” Mugison.

Those who will not be able to attend next year’s festival will receive a reimbursement for their ticket.

More information on the Iceland Airwaves website (in English), here.

Bids Open on New Hospital Treatment Centre

Companies will begin submitting bids for the contract to pour the concrete framework for the National University Hospital’s new treatment centre, RÚV reports. Once completed, the centre will be one of the largest buildings to have ever been constructed in Iceland.

Five companies are preparing bids for the extensive project. Gunnar Svavarsson, managing director of the new centre, says that it will be interesting to see whether the bids are in line with the hospital’s cost estimates for the project or perhaps even below, which would allow the project to continue without delay. Gunnar admitted, however, that bids coming in under estimate is probably wishful thinking.

“It certainly wouldn’t come as a shock, I wouldn’t say, if the bidding as of now was considerably above our estimate,” Gunnar remarked. “[If so,] we’d have to reevaluate. That’s always the way of it when you get to this point. What we’re talking about here is one of the biggest buildings to ever be constructed in Iceland. It will be 70,000 sq m [753 sq ft], eight floors, two basements…The area we’re working with is the size of two football fields.”

Construction of such a large facility is obviously a time-consuming undertaking. “Just pouring the concrete could take up to 33 months,” Gunnar continued. “We’re talking almost three years, just pouring concrete.”

Read more about plans for the new hospital and the treatment centre, in English, here.