Man consoling woman

London borough introduces policy to support staff who have miscarriage

Men and women Barking and Dagenham Council employees who suffer the loss of an unborn baby will now be entitled to time off work under plans unveiled by the authority.

Employees of the London borough will be able to access up to five days of fully paid leave if they tragically experience a miscarriage.

The new scheme includes employees or their partners and was introduced after a consultation with staff on how to improve the support available.

Under the new plans, council workers will also be able to access a range of targeted support, including a buddy system to help them return to work.

Currently there is no statutory right for employees to take time off work if they or their partner suffers a stillbirth or miscarriage before the 24th week in the UK.

Commenting, Barking and Dagenham Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Core Services, Councillor Dominic Twomey said:

“The council as an employer is recognising miscarriage is a real-life event and we want to support parents at this very sad time by acknowledging their loss and finding ways to support them.

“As a nation, we need to do more to talk about miscarriages and remove the stigma surrounding the subject.

“It beggars belief that in 2021, parents who tragically suffer a miscarriage are left with little support, and in many cases, no option but to go back to work or be signed off sick.

“We hope our changes will go some way to helping support our employees when they need it the most, while also encouraging other organisations to do the same.”

In the UK, the term miscarriage applies to pregnancies up to 23 weeks and six days, with any loss from 24 weeks called a stillbirth.

According to the Miscarriage Association, around one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage in the country each year.

The council’s announcement comes after New Zealand recently announced sweeping changes offering people bereavement leave following a stillbirth or miscarriage.

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