The loss of a baby at any stage of pregnancy can take an enormous mental and physical toll on women and birthing people and their partners.
We know that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in loss during pregnancy or birth. Estimates suggest there are 250,000 miscarriages every year in the UK, and around 11,000 emergency admissions for ectopic pregnancies. Yet currently, the UK doesn’t recognise these losses in the same way as stillbirth and neonatal death, which means families aren’t given automatic entitlement to paid leave.
Introduced by Angela Crawley MP, the Miscarriage Leave Bill would have ensured 3 days of paid bereavement leave for people who have experienced miscarriage, ectopic and molar pregnancies.
Tommy’s Chief Executive Kath Abrahams says:
It has been encouraging to see the Bill attract support from MPs across the political spectrum in recent months, driven by the hard work of Angela and campaigners such as Keeley Lengthorn in showing just how vital it is for both employers and employees. We’re incredibly disappointed to see that the Bill has still not received a second reading today.
Without a legal requirement to give a minimum amount of miscarriage leave to those who need it, the Government is relying on employers’ good will to grant leave, putting an extra burden on employers while too many women, birthing people and partners are suffering as a result.
Nobody should have to hide their loss or pretend they have another illness in order to be guaranteed time off. It can reinforce the taboo of baby loss and is hugely damaging in the long-term for people who may find themselves returning to work unable to speak honestly or seek help while grieving.
Campaigner Keeley Lengthorn has courageously used her personal experiences as fuel for her fight for the Bill, and we know that the majority of our vocal and passionate community at Tommy’s support its introduction. Many will know first-hand how it feels to deal with the physical and mental devastation of miscarriage while worrying about negotiating with their employer to take time off.
At Tommy’s we believe that a Miscarriage Leave Bill enshrined into law is vital but it must be seen as a starting point for employers: for many people 3 days leave will not be enough time to provide for the physical or mental impact of miscarriage, and more will be needed – 3 days is not a solution, but it’s a good first step.
“We continue to urge employers to take the initiative to develop their own baby loss policies, which should be flexible, compassionate and understand that every person's circumstances and needs will be different.