27 April 2022

Know your rights on pregnancy loss*

Ruth Henderson talks about knowing your rights around pregnancy loss and what support is available in the workplace. *Please note, this article might be triggering for some women.

Pregnancy loss is one of the toughest issues women face. Time off to grieve or just feel better in yourself is vital. Different laws come into effect depending on what stage of pregnancy the loss happens, which affect your rights to pay and leave.

Miscarriage
If the baby is lost before the 24th week you are not eligible for maternity pay. Your rep can discuss options with you, including bereavement or compassionate leave, depending on your workplace policies.

However, if you are too unwell to work (physically or mentally) as a consequence, your GP can sign you off as suffering pregnancy related illness. This should not count against your trigger points no matter how long you need.

Stillbirth
Stillbirth is considered to be loss of the baby after 24 weeks. You are eligible for full maternity leave and pay, meaning if you have already started your leave you are entitled to continue it, and if not you are entitled to take it. Your leave starts the day after the baby is born.

Termination of pregnancy due to baby’s viability
If you make the decision to terminate your pregnancy because the baby will not survive outside the womb, this is treated the same as miscarriage or stillbirth depending on when the termination takes place.

Neonatal loss within the first 28 days of life
If the baby is born alive but dies within the first 28 days, you are entitled to full maternity leave and pay counted from the day after your baby is born, and may also be entitled to bereavement leave, depending on your policies at work. It’s important to note that this applies if your baby was born alive no matter where in the pregnancy you were.

If you are in this situation and unsure of your options, please contact your local PCS branch – you can request a female rep if that’s possible in your area. Everything will be kept confidential.