SNP MP Angela Crawley has called on the Government to give all parents the legal right to paid leave if a miscarriage occurs before 24 weeks of pregnancy. 

A bill has been introduced to Parliament which states parents should receive three days paid leave after suffering a miscarriage before 24 weeks.

Although current legislation offers paid parental leave for the loss of a baby after 24 weeks – with payments standing at ¬£151.97 a week or 90 per cent of the parent’s weekly earnings – this support does not exist for miscarriages which have occurred before this time.

Ms. Crawley, recounting correspondences from families who had suffered loss of pregnancy, reported that many women resorted to taking unpaid or sick leave after losing their child.

Conversely, due to the fact that they did not personally experience the miscarriage, fathers stated they did not feel as though they could approach their employer about the issue or ask to take paid leave.

Ruther Bender Atik, the National Director of the Miscarriage Association, also noted the lack of legislation in this area:

Miscarriage is horribly common and far more common than people expect so when it happens to them it’s usually a shock.

The rights aren’t many. They are basically that they are entitled to pregnancy-related leave, not necessarily paid leave, that depends on their terms and conditions.

Everyone’s particular circumstances and needs can differ. For some women they may need just a few days off work. Others may need many weeks.

Ms. Atik continued to explain that whilst there is no time limit for pregnancy-related leave, many parents cannot afford to take extended periods of unpaid leave to cope with their loss.

The Miscarriage Association previously launched a campaign designed to get businesses and organisations to pledge to support employees experiencing pregnancy loss.

This entails creating a supportive work environment, understanding and implementing the rules around pregnancy-related leave, having a policy in place to support people and their partners in getting back to work and counting pregnancy-related absence separately from general sickness.

Ms. Crawley also reiterated the need to support both parents through law and company policy, stating:

I think often, sadly, [miscarriage] is seen as a women’s issue and there’s stigma and shame attached to the experience of miscarriage and I do not believe that should be the case in this day and age.

This is an issue that affects both parents when they undergo that loss and to have the right to grieve and the right to have that paid and recognised by their employer is an important milestone.