Miscarriage is distressingly common, occurring in one in four pregnancies. But in the UK, for miscarriages before 24 weeks, there are no specific rights in law for workers to take time off. This means it’s over to employers to decide for themselves what support they want to offer to employees (and typically, employees normally use sickness leave or annual leave after suffering a miscarriage).
Since other countries, particularly in the APAC region, mandate leave for employees who suffer a miscarriage at any stage in pregnancy, international employers in the ad industry are already looking at how they can standardise their policies to offer support to employees, no matter where they live and work. Even agencies without an international presence may want to consider how to plug the gaps in domestic law by introducing a policy to allow for leave where a miscarriage occurs before 24 weeks.
The Drum has published an article on this important topic, in which they quote my colleague Katie Johnston.
“People aren’t legally obligated to inform their employer they’re pregnant until around 25 weeks, so there is a high chance that a miscarriage will occur without the employer even knowing that you were trying for a baby,” Katie says.
“It beggars belief that there is no support for miscarriage that occurs before the 24-week mark – a lot of employers don’t have any kind of miscarriage policy and they absolutely should.”
Katie has also written about UK employment law on miscarriage after New Zealand voted to give mothers and their partners three days of paid bereavement leave after a miscarriage. You can read Katie’s article here.
It beggars belief that there is no support for miscarriage that occurs before the 24-week mark – a lot of employers don’t have any kind of miscarriage policy and they absolutely should.