UK ministers urged to support paid leave for miscarriage

UK ministers have been urged to back calls to introduce paid leave for miscarriage.

SNP MP Angela Crawley said her proposals will allow parents to grieve.

Her private member’s Bill seeks to grant three days of statutory paid leave to parents who experience a miscarriage before 24 weeks of pregnancy.

An estimated one in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage, but paid bereavement leave is only provided following stillbirth after 24 weeks.

The Bill unanimously passed its first Westminster reading in July, but Lanark and Hamilton East MP Ms Crawley said it was talked out for the second time by Conservative MPs before its second reading.

A petition was signed by 40,000 people in support of the Bill and the proposed legislation has received cross-party support, Ms Crawley said as she urged the UK Government to back it.

Prime Minister’s Questions
The Bill has been proposed by SNP MP Angela Crawley (UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA)

The Scottish Government provides paid leave for public sector workers who have experienced miscarriage.

Ms Crawley said: “My Bill has support from every party in the House of Commons, the only thing it needs now is the support of the UK Government.

“I am urging Tory ministers to do the right thing and back my private member’s Bill in the new year to give parents who experience miscarriage before 24 weeks the right to paid leave.

“Parents who experience a miscarriage or stillbirth at any stage of their pregnancy deserve to be properly supported and given the time they may need to grieve and process their loss, without worrying about a hit to finances or taking annual leave.

“The SNP Scottish Government has already done this where they have the power. It offers three days’ paid leave for parents working in the public sector who suffer miscarriage before 24 weeks.

“However, as employment law remains reserved to Westminster it can’t be implemented across the board without UK legislation.

“People working in the private sector in Scotland shouldn’t have to wait for Westminster to act. It must back my Bill or devolve the powers to Scotland so we can make that positive change.”

A Government spokesperson said: “The Government recognises that losing a child at any stage is incredibly difficult and we expect employers to respond with compassion and understanding.

“Miscarriage is a very personal experience and some of those affected may want to stay at home, whilst others may prefer to continue to work or alternatively may need time off later.

“The Government believes that individuals are best placed to understand their own specific needs, and good employers will respond to requests made by their employees in a sensitive way.”