Child loss support increased
GREATER support for Inverclyde Council staff who suffer the loss of a child has been unanimously backed by councillors.
Members of the policy and resources committee on Tuesday 21 June 2022 agreed for the local authority to sign up to the Miscarriage Association’s Pregnancy Loss Pledge and to improve parental bereavement leave.
All parents – men and women – will now be entitled to two weeks’ off on full pay if they suffer pregnancy loss at any time during pregnancy or lose a child up to the age of 18 regardless of length of service.
Currently, the legal minimum is two weeks’ statutory leave for parents who suffer the loss of a child from a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy up to the age of 18 years old and applies for those with over 26 weeks service and with above average earnings.
The council will also conduct a review of wider policies and procedures related to support for employees experiencing bereavement.
Councillor Stephen McCabe, leader of Inverclyde Council and convener of policy and resources, said: “No parent should have to deal with the loss of a child but life can be cruel so it’s only right that staff are fully supported during such a difficult and painful time in their lives and given time to grieve without having to worry about work and pay.
“It’s also important to recognise the profound impact the loss of a child can have on women but also men and that all parents who work for the council receive the same support, regardless of their gender.
“Signing up to the Miscarriage Association’s Pregnancy Loss Pledge and introducing these leave enhancements in addition to the council’s existing bereavement support I’m sure will provide some small crumb of comfort to staff going through an unimaginable time and I’m pleased that these proposals received unanimous backing of my fellow councillors at committee.”
The Miscarriage Association is a registered charity and it launched a new Pregnancy Loss Campaign in September 2021.
Its aim is to introduce paid leave for families who experience a miscarriage before 24 weeks and to improve support for parents who experience miscarriage by encouraging work environments where employers show empathy and understanding towards people and their partners experiencing pregnancy loss.
The charity found that due to the stigma around miscarriage and the lack of support available, many in this position feel they are unable to grieve adequately.
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.
The Miscarriage Association’s Pregnancy Loss Pledge requires employers to agree to:
- Encourage a supportive work environment where people feel able to discuss and disclose pregnancy and/or loss without fear of being disadvantaged or discriminated against;
- Understand and implement the rules around pregnancy-related leave, ensuring employees feel able to take the time off they need;
- Show empathy and understanding towards people and their partners experiencing pregnancy loss;
- Implement a pregnancy loss policy or guidance, or ensure it is included in sickness, bereavement or other workplace policies – being mindful of the needs of partners, too;
- Encourage line managers to access in-house or external guidance (such as that available on the MA website) on how to support someone experiencing pregnancy loss;
- Support people back to work by being responsive to their needs and showing flexibility wherever possible.
The committee report is available at www.inverclyde.gov.uk/meetings/meeting/2457 and the meeting is available to watch on the council’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/watch?v=dufB7yHkNFw.