Keeley Lengthorn campaigns for Miscarriage Bill
Thu 14 July 2022
Keeley Lengthorn, Partner has launched a campaign to extend the legal right for all businesses to offer three days’ paid leave for parents who have experienced miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, or molar pregnancy before 24 weeks.
Keeley, who has tragically suffered three miscarriages in the last three years, believes the current law – which gives employees the right to take statutory parental bereavement leave on the death of a child under 18 years of age and after 24 weeks of pregnancy – excludes thousands of women across the UK who suffer a miscarriage before 24 weeks every day and are required to return to work immediately after suffering such a traumatic incident.
Currently, one in four pregnancies results in miscarriage, one in 90 pregnancies are ectopic, and one in every 200 births in England is a stillbirth (death occurring after 24 weeks of pregnancy).
Keeley said: “After the loss of my babies, I spoke to hundreds of mothers across the UK in the same position – feeling emotionally and physically incapable of returning to work immediately. I was fortunate enough that Taylor Rose had introduced a baby loss policy earlier this year for pregnant women under 24 weeks, but thousands of working mothers across the country are still not offered this option by their employers.
“Miscarriage is not an illness and should not be allocated sick leave. Firms should implement a pregnancy loss policy as part of their parental leave policy, as a commitment to support all employees through the bereavement and grief of a pregnancy loss and make reasonable adjustments where necessary. It is only three days, and this workplace policy would be significant in supporting families across the profession in dealing with a huge physical and emotional loss.
“This may help broaden the general conversation about women’s health in the workplace. Having a formal policy sends a clear message that there’s support available throughout the pregnancy process and is particularly important in the first 12 weeks when many women prefer not to tell their employers or colleagues.”
Keeley is also supporting the Miscarriage Leave Bill, put forward by MP Angela Crawley, and aims to make provision for paid leave for people who have experienced miscarriage. The Bill, which could benefit one million people a year, seeks to give three days’ paid leave to parents who have experienced miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, or molar pregnancy before 24 weeks.
Speaking in Parliament on July 6, Ms Crawley MP said: “For any expectant parent, this is a devastating experience that is often further compounded by the stigma and shame of miscarriage. For some families, it may be an experience that happens more than once, compounding the trauma of their loss.
“At present, there is no legal right to paid leave for parents grieving the loss of a pregnancy before 24 weeks. It is simply not good enough that those suffering miscarriage and the associated grief of their loss are not recognised. Suffering miscarriage is not an illness; it is a loss that can be traumatic for expectant parents. People experiencing a miscarriage feel the physical pain of contractions, combined with the heart-wrenching agony of losing a child—they may have glimpsed the child’s face on a scan; they may have known whether it was a boy or a girl; they may have chosen a name; they may have already decorated a nursery. Their hopes and dreams are crushed at that moment.
“Keeley’s story makes it clear how important miscarriage leave is in dealing with such a devastating circumstance of physical and emotional loss. This policy will ensure all firms are required to adopt a policy that helps individuals and families to cope with one of the most difficult experiences that they will go through in their life.”
Taylor Rose MW is committed to supporting Keeley’s campaign. Adrian Jaggard, CEO said: “Our employees are the very essence of our business, and without them, we wouldn’t have become what we are today. We understand that work factors into a massive part of our everyday lives, but so does our life outside of work. Here at the firm, we want our employees to feel supported in both their personal and working lives and acknowledge that at times they may cross over. By implementing this policy, we hope to show our commitment to the staff that have aided our growth and will continue to consider their voices as we continue on our journey forward.”