Introducing six-week miscarriage leave

Rather than rely on standard sick leave, buy-to-let mortgage lender Landbay has introduced a policy entitling those who have suffered a miscarriage to up to six weeks of paid annual leave.

Believed to be one of the first policies of its kind in the UK, it was introduced by HR director Naomi Braisby.

“Having recently returned to the workplace after the birth of my daughter I took time to reflect on the fact I did not have the smoothest pregnancy and birth experience,” Braisby told HR magazine.

“But I always felt supported by Landbay that if anything untoward happened I would have the time and space I needed. This policy is the formalisation of that culture.”

Expanding parental policy:

Organisations urged to sign Pregnancy Loss Pledge

Hot topic: Early-stage pregnancy loss

Employers should take New Zealand’s lead by supporting employees after pregnancy loss

The policy introduces a sliding scale of leave depending on the stage of pregnancy when a miscarriage occurs.

Up to 12 weeks, women are entitled to two weeks, and between 12 and 20, they can take up to four weeks.

The six-week entitlement is for a miscarriage between 20 to 24 weeks, after such point the baby would be classed as stillborn and women would be legally entitled to full maternity leave.

“The leave is extended to six weeks because if a loss is experienced after the 20-week milestone has passed, two weeks off is simply not enough,” Braisby said.

Partners are also entitled to take up to two weeks of paid leave, or up to four weeks if the loss is after 24 weeks.

When the leave can be taken will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Braisby added: “We have purposefully not specified when the leave is taken as we understand that someone’s recovery isn’t a linear journey.”

Recognising that a policy is only useful if supported by a positive wellbeing culture, Braisby introduced an Employee Assistance Programme and operates an open-door drop in policy for HR.

Employees are also entitled to two mental wellbeing days pay year, and HR trains managers to spot the signals when employees might be in distress.

“Policies are not enough to make an initiative effective,” Braisby said. “It’s what you do around the edges to create a culture where employees have no fear or anxiety about speaking up and are already empowered to raise issues - about themselves or those around them.”