Bereaved parents cannot qualify for maternity leave or pay if they experience miscarriage
By Lucy Ashton
Those who experience a miscarriage or stillbirth should be given at least three days paid leave, Boris Johnson has been told.
In a cross-party letter sent to the Prime Minister, SNP MP Angela Crawley called for the UK to follow New Zealand, where parliamentarians unanimously approved legislation to give those who experience a miscarriage paid leave, no matter what stage a loss of pregnancy occurs at.
Under current rules, bereaved parents cannot qualify for maternity leave or pay if they experience a miscarriage.
If a baby is stillborn before the end of the 24th week of pregnancy, it is treated as a miscarriage.
It means that if there is a loss before 24 weeks, parents must request compassionate leave or take annual or unpaid leave.
At Westminster today, Crawley is set to introduce a private members’ Bill which aims to change the law to ensure those who experience a miscarriage or stillbirth are given at least three days paid leave.
“Presenting my Miscarriage Leave Bill today brings us one step closer to ensuring parents get the time they need to grieve and process a miscarriage, without worrying about their finances and employment,” she said.
“Under current rules, the only way parents can get this time off is by requesting compassionate leave – which may or may not be granted – or take annual or unpaid leave. This isn’t fair.
“If passed, this Bill would see the UK follow in New Zealand’s footsteps and bring in three days paid leave for anyone who has suffered a miscarriage or stillbirth in the UK.”
Crawley suggested that if the UK Government does not back the Bill, it should devolve powers to Scotland to enable the change.
She said “The SNP is committed to introducing three days of paid miscarriage leave within the public sector in Scotland – but while employment law remains reserved to Westminster, only the UK government has the power to make this change in the private sector and across the UK.
“Parents shouldn’t have to wait for Westminster to act. I hope the UK government will back my bill and make this important change to the law – or, at the very least, devolve the powers to the Scottish Parliament so we can introduce it ourselves in Scotland.”