Council offers parents suffering pregnancy loss at any stage paid leave

Inverclyde Council made the change to its policy, which previously only supported parents in pregnancy loss after 24 weeks.

Inverclyde Council to offer parents suffering pregnancy loss at any stage paid leave iStock
Pregnancy loss: Council to offer parents paid leave during bereavement.

Parents at Inverclyde Council who suffer a pregnancy loss at any stage will now be offered two weeks leave on full pay.

The local authority will also sign a pledge with the Miscarriage Association, to ensure workers are properly supported during what can be a difficult or traumatic time.

A report to Tuesday’s Policy and Resources Committee said the charity found that people are often “unable to grieve adequately” because of the stigma around miscarriage.

It explained: “Many workers find themselves in a dilemma: to use sick leave or annual leave; or to return to work during a time of grief.

“Employers who make the pledge commit to a higher pregnancy loss standard to ensure that employees going through what can be a very difficult or traumatic time get the support and time off they need.”

Legislation entitles parents to at least two weeks of statutory paid leave if they suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy or the death of a child under the age of 18.

However, a pregnancy lost before 24 weeks is considered a miscarriage and parents would not be entitled to maternity leave or pay or parental bereavement leave.

The council’s own conditions of service offer “reasonably paid time off as necessary” in the case of a near relative, such as a husband, wife, partner, parent or child.

Inverclyde Council will now enhance its provisions, following in the footsteps of Fife Council, to offer all parents two weeks of full pay if they suffer a pregnancy loss at any time or if they lose a child up to the age of 18.

At Tuesday’s committee, during which the policy change was agreed, Councillor Kirsty Law said: “I just wanted to publicly put on record how much I welcome this proposal.

“Having personally experienced early pregnancy loss, I think it’s important to acknowledge it’s not just over 24 weeks that it has an emotional effect on people and also it’s heartening to see that men are included within this provision, because often they’re overlooked in these situations too.”

Convener Stephen McCabe added: “I think it’s very important that we do sign up to this.

“I think it’s only right that we recognise the impact such a loss can have on people.

“I suppose if you’ve not experienced it, you might not necessarily understand it.”

As part of the recommendations, a review will also be undertaken of the council’s wider HR policies and procedures in relation to the support of employees experiencing bereavement.