By Bill Heaney
Parents working for West Dunbartonshire Council will be offered compassionate support following the introduction of a new Pregnancy Loss Scheme.
The scheme, which was agreed by members of the Corporate Services Committee, will provide guidance and a sympathetic response to employees who experience pregnancy loss.
It means employees and their partners who lose a baby from 24 weeks of pregnancy will still be entitled to maternity and paternity rights and benefits.
The scheme will further support employees who have been affected by pregnancy loss through fertility treatment by making parents eligible for paid leave if they are not able to access either Maternity or Parental Bereavement Leave.
The Council says it recognises that pregnancy loss is a very difficult time for parents and is committed to supporting its employees in line with the People First Strategy, which puts people and good people practice are at the heart of the organisation.
Councillor Daniel Lennie, Convener of Corporate Services, said: “I am pleased to see this scheme approved to offer help and support at a difficult and heart-breaking time for parents. I am also pleased the Council will support those suffering pregnancy loss through fertility treatment.
“Although this is not a current legislative requirement for pregnancy loss under 24 weeks, parents will be supported by this innovative scheme with up to 5 days paid leave pro-rata with no limit to the number of times this leave can be taken to support employees at very difficult time in their lives.”
Councillor Michelle McGinty, Vice Convener of Corporate Services, said; “The loss of a child is a very difficult and painful time for parents and it’s only right that employees are fully supported while they are grieving without having to worry about work and pay.
“As a mother who has experienced early pregnancy loss, I understand the difference this will make in the lives of parents who lose their baby in early pregnancy and are expected to continue on with life without their grief being acknowledged.
“I am pleased the Council recognises the profound impact the loss of a child can have on families and that all parents who work for the council will receive the same support. I am extremely proud that West Dunbartonshire Council are leading the way and showing their workforce that they will support them through the times that really matters.
“A little bit of compassion goes a long way and this will make a heartbreaking time a little bit easier. I am sure this policy will bring much needed comfort and support to our workforce and I am pleased to see it approved today.”
Nothing for taxpayer though.