Father of famously large family dies in Barcelona (leaving behind 15 children)

In December 2015, the Postigo-Pich family made headlines after it was honoured as the European Large Family of the 2015; now sadly, the family are in the news again.

Father of famously large family dies in Barcelona (leaving behind 15 children)
Chema and Rosa with sixteen of their children. Photo: Familia Postigo Pich

José María Postigo, known as Chema to his friends, died on Monday aged 56, after a short illness. He left behind his widow and 15 of their children.

He was admitted to the hospital two weeks ago and diagnosed with liver cancer after losing 11 kg in just six weeks.

His entire family were at the bedside.

The story of the couple is extraordinary. José María, who was one of 16 children, met Rosa Pich, who was the seventh child of 14. They went on to have 18 children of their own.

José and Rosa's first child was born with a severe heart defect and despite the fact that doctors only gave her three years to live, Carmen lived to 22, dying in 2012 after completing her Masters degree.

The couple's next two children died of the same heart condition; one aged only ten days and one 18 months.

After the health issues of their first three children, doctors advised José and Rosa not to have any more – but amazingly they went on to have a further 15.

The couple are members of Opus Dei, an organization within the Catholic Church, and founded a charity to help children with heart conditions. Rosa has written a book about her experience as a mother of Spain's largest family: “How to be happy with 1,2,3… children”.

The family has appeared on television programmes around the world, from a BBC report “The biggest family in the world” to South Korean news and dozens of Spanish documentary shows. 

Rosa described how the monthly family supermarket trip involved filling four shopping trolleys and that the average grocery list included 1.300 biscuits, 249 litres of milk, 25 kilos of potatoes and 25 kilos de carne.

The family gets through 96 toilet rolls each month and has two sittings for breakfast and dinner.

In December 2015, the family were recognized for having the most school-age children in Spain “and possibly Europe”. They were chosen by the European Large Families Confederation (ELFAC) as Europe's Large Family of the Year.

On the occasion, they were awarded a cheque for €5,000 which they donated to help other big families. 

Thousands have paid tribute to Chema, who was loved and leaves behind an impressive legacy.

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Five things you should know about Spain’s new Family Law

Spain's government has preapproved its long-awaited Family Law. Here's everything parents and other people with family in Spain should know about it, from paid leave to care for loved ones to a new €100 monthly child benefit.

Five things you should know about Spain's new Family Law

The Spanish government on Tuesday December 13th finally approved the draft of the new Family Law after a year of negotiations. 

The legislation will address “key problems in the daily life of millions of people”, Spain’s Social Rights Minister Ione Belarra said during a press conference on Tuesday.

The law is designed to help make life easier for families by introducing new rules such as extended paid leave to care for sick children and handing out a €100 cheque to all new mothers, instead of just those who work. 

We’ve broken down the five most important clauses that make up this legislation.

Paid leave to care for family members

One of the most important perks of the new law is that it allows parents to take five days paid leave off work to look after a sick child.

This is also extended to parents, grandparents, grandchildren and siblings, if you need to take care of any these other members of your family.

In the case of cohabitants, such as a flatmate or partner, you can also take five days paid leave in the case of hospitalisation or surgery without hospitalisation, where the patient needs to be taken care of at home following the procedure.

There will also be up to four days paid leave a year for family emergencies such as if you need to accompany your partner to their doctor’s appointment.

A new eight-week unpaid leave will be granted to parents which they will be able to use up intermittently when they choose, up until their child turns eight years old. It may be used for example if your child is going through a difficult time or needs to change schools. This rule will be rolled out progressively so that it will be six weeks in 2023 and eight weeks in 2024.

The subsidy for birth will also be extended to those families who adopt or foster children and the orphan’s pension will be extended by one year up to age 26. Parents will also be granted leave to care for a minor with cancer or other serious illnesses, up to the age of 26 in the case of disabilities.

Single-parent families 

Under the new law, single-parent families with two children will be considered a ‘familia numerosa’ (large family) and be granted the same rights to benefits and certain discounts as these families. This will also extend to families with two children who have disabilities, families with two children headed up by a victim of gender violence, and a spouse who has obtained sole custody without the right to alimony.

A new category will be created called ‘Families with the greatest support needs for upbringing’ which includes familias numerosas and single-parent families with two children.

Familias numerosas with four children (previously it was five) will now also be part of this category as will families with triplets (instead of quadruplets as it was before) and families with three children who have a low income (up to 150 percent of the IPREM which will be €600 per month in 2023).

READ ALSO – Single parents in Spain: What benefits and aid are you eligible for?

100 handout for mothers with children from 0 to 3 years

A parenting cheque of €100 per month per child (€125 in the case of single-parent families) will be extended to mothers with children from ages 0 to 3 years, whether they work or not.

Previously this was only given to those who were employed. This means it will include all mothers, even those who receive unemployment benefits. Those who have temporary or part-time work will also receive the benefit.

According to Spain’s Ministry of Social Rights, this is set to benefit some 200,000 to 250,000 new mothers.

READ MORE: How new mothers in Spain can get an extra €100 a month

Recognition of ‘all forms of family’

The new law now recognises all types of families in Spain, meaning that everyone will have equal rights.

This includes those who are married or have registered as a pareja de hecho (common-law partners). Common-law partners will now have access to the 15 days of permission for registration, like those who get married, and will be able to access the same permits.

The law will also recognise LGTBQ+ families, families with disabilities, multiple families and adoptive or foster families. Multiple families – those with children from more than one partner will also have special protection, and the children of unmarried couples may be registered in the registry by the non-pregnant parent.

‘Parental PIN’ ban

The new rule will prohibit both parents and guardians from preventing access to information on family diversity through the so-called ‘Pin Parental ’.

In effect, the PIN is a veto that allows parents to stop their children from partaking in complementary school workshops that incorporate “ideological or moral learning against their convictions”. The workshops are not voluntary after-school activities, but part of the basic curriculum within normal school hours.

The Food Payment Guarantee Fund will also be improved and will benefit children of common-law couples, adults with disabilities or those who are dependent on others.