Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Neonatal Death - your rights at work
1 in 4 women have experienced miscarriage *
1 in every 250 pregnancies ends in a stillbirth in the UK *
2.8 deaths per 1,000 live births result in neonatal death **
Solicitor and Director, Vaishali Thakerar, looks at this sensitive subject and the employment considerations of losing a baby - your rights at work for pay, sickness and bereavement leave.
What can I claim if I have a miscarriage?
If you have a miscarriage, sadly you will not be entitled to maternity pay, paternity leave or shared parental leave. You will be able to take off sick leave as long as your GP signs you off from work. Sick leave, for reasons of a miscarriage, is protected the same way as a pregnancy related illness. It is not limited as to how much sick leave you can take, and the leave must be recorded as pregnancy related sickness and should not, count towards your sickness record. If your employer treats you unfavourably for taking this sick leave or if you are dismissed for taking this sick leave, then this is discriminatory.
What pay would I receive if I have a miscarriage?
You are entitled to receive sick pay in accordance with your company policy. Therefore, if you receive full pay for a period of time, you will be entitled to this, and if not, you will be entitled to statutory sick pay.
What are my rights at work if my baby dies or is stillborn?
If you are already on maternity leave, then you do not need to do anything however, if your baby died or was stillborn before you commenced maternity leave, it will start the day after the birth.
Does a man have the same paternity rights if his baby dies or is stillborn?
You would still be entitled to paternity leave if there is a stillbirth. Paternity leave needs to be taken within 56 days of the birth taking place.
If there is a stillbirth or your baby dies, is there entitled to bereavement leave?
You have the right to take two weeks parental bereavement leave a year following your baby’s death. This leave is available to both parents regardless of how long you have been employed. An employer cannot refuse a request for parental bereavement leave, but this must be taken within 56 days on the baby passing away.
What is statutory parental bereavement pay?
You are entitled to statutory parental bereavement pay of £151.97 per week (April 2021 – April 2022) for up to two weeks if you are an employee, agency or zero hours worker and you have been continuously employed for at least 26 weeks by the week immediately before your baby’s stillbirth or death, and you earn at least £120 per week (before tax) (April 2021 – April 2022) in the eight weeks (if you are paid weekly) or two months (if you are paid monthly) before the week in which your baby was stillborn or died. If you were on furlough during that period your employer must use your normal earnings, not your furlough pay.
You can take statutory parental bereavement leave/pay in addition to any maternity or paternity leave/pay you qualify for and you may qualify for it even if you do not qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay or Statutory Paternity Pay.
Are you entitled to a phased return to work after a miscarriage, stillbirth or a neonatal death of my baby?
You do not have an automatic right to return on a phased return basis. Your employer should have a policy which gives you more information as to how you return to work and should be managed. If there is no policy, your employer needs to be as consistent as possible. A doctor could recommend a phased return on your sick note.