Most workplaces have employees who have been, or may be, affected by miscarriage, stillbirth or infertility. Receiving compassion and support at work can make a real difference and it is vital that we create an environment where people who are dealing with miscarriage, stillbirth and infertility, including partners and family members, are supported.
The term ‘miscarriage’ includes ectopic or molar pregnancy (loss of a pregnancy before 24 weeks gestation). For ease, we have used the word ‘miscarriage’ to refer to all these types of baby loss before 24 weeks.
Stillbirth is when a baby is born dead after 24 weeks of pregnancy.
Infertility is when an individual cannot conceive despite wanting a child.
Sickness absence after a miscarriage is protected and formally recorded as ‘pregnancy-related’ sickness.
There is no time limit on sickness absence after a miscarriage. If a GP has certified the sickness, this applies for as long as the sick leave lasts. You will be entitled to any sick pay/leave you are usually entitled to.
If you are not the individual who has experienced the physical loss (for example you might be the partner, grandparent or the intended parent in a surrogacy arrangement) but you need to take time off work following the loss, compassionate or special leave is available.
The University offers up to nine days paid leave (pro rata for part-time staff) in any 12-month period for fertility treatment. These days may be taken as a block of nine days or separately as necessary. Should you wish to take time off work to support your partner undergoing fertility treatment you can take up to nine days paid leave (pro rata for part time staff) in a 12-month period.
What do managers need to do?
Make sure you are aware of the Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infertility Manager Guidance (.pdf). Taking time to understand how a member of your team may be affected by miscarriage, stillbirth or infertility is very important. Providing personalised support and exploring together ways of alleviating any stress at work are effective ways of providing support. Having regular conversations with your team gives individuals the opportunity to raise any issues and for you to help to identify problems at an early stage. It is vital that we create an environment where people are supported.