Glasgow City Council has announced it will start offering paid leave to employees who miscarry, becoming the third council in the UK to offer such support.
The new support, agreed on 1 September, entitles workers who have a miscarriage to the same two weeks’ bereavement leave as those who suffer a stillbirth.
The paid leave will also apply to the partners of those who miscarried.
Last year, Barking and Dagenham Council became the first local authority in the UK to offer such miscarriage leave. The east London council’s move was soon followed by Merton in south-west London.
The council said the new benefit would allow workers to grieve and recover without having to rely on annual leave, sick pay or unpaid leave given that they were likely to feel unable to return to work after their loss.
Councillor Allan Casey said: “I hope the decision today shows our commitment to the health and wellbeing of our employees and respects and acknowledges an extremely personal life event that, often, people still find hard to talk about.
“Any pregnancy loss can cause unimaginable grief and sadness and affects as many as one in four women.
“But having additional time and support to grieve without any potential financial burden or worry about your job will hopefully be some comfort during a very difficult time.
“Glasgow is now joining two other local authorities and 120 organisations across the UK who have signed up to the Miscarriage Association’s workplace pregnancy loss pledge and demonstrating their commitment to support employees following a miscarriage.”
The policy has been welcomed by the Miscarriage Association.
Deputy director Vicki Robinson said: “By extending parental bereavement leave to staff experiencing a loss before 24 weeks, this measure not only gives women and their partners a period of paid leave, it’s also a clear acknowledgement that pregnancy loss can be felt as a bereavement, just like any other.
“Signing our pregnancy loss pledge goes a step further still, and commits to not only offering leave, but providing thoughtful and considerate support to staff, both while they are on leave and on their return to work.
“We know this approach can make a real difference to people who may be experiencing one of the worst times of their lives.”
The Scottish government has previously committed to introducing three days’ paid leave for those who miscarry who work in the public sector. However, powers to introduce the measure are reserved to Westminster.
SNP MP Angela Crawley’s Private Member’s Bill, which calls on the UK government to introduce paid miscarriage leave, has passed its second reading in the House of Commons.
In April 2021, Channel 4 introduced a pregnancy loss policy of two weeks of paid leave, saying it believed it was a world first for employers. Online bank Monzo soon followed suit and since then other UK firms that have announced paid leave for employees affected by miscarriage include Royds Withy King, Abel & Cole, Hallam and YuLife.
New Zealand became the first country to introduce paid miscarriage leave in March 2021 when Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern supported a bill introduced by Labour MP Ginny Anderson that enabled women in the country to take three days extra leave after miscarrying, without having to use any sick days.