Two weeks paid leave for parents who suffer a miscarriage

Wednesday August 24th 2022

Midlothian Council Fairfield House Main

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

Council workers who suffer a miscarriage will be offered two weeks paid leave after Midlothian councillors doubled the initial number of days off proposed.

Calls for employees and their partners to be given time off were put before a virtual meeting this week along with moves to provide couples going through IVF treatment paid leave for each cycle.

However initial proposals to offer five days leave to workers and their partners in the event of a miscarriage were doubled after one councillor said more time was needed.

Councillor Kelly Drummond moved an amendment to council recommendations to increase the time off saying: “The trauma experienced by couples who lose a child is inconceivable and anyone going through that trauma needs time to grieve without worrying about money and work and so we would like to move that to change it to 10 days because five days is just not enough.

“Two weeks is still going to be tough but I think it is definitely better than five days.”

Councillor David Virgo thanked colleagues for backing the changes telling them he had personal experience of such a loss.

He said: “As one of the one in four that has suffered this, five days does seem completely inadequate but ultimately I welcome this report and thank you for bringing it to bridge that gap and to Councillor Drummond for the amendments.”

A report by officers said a number of local authorities in Scotland have already signed up to the Pregnancy Loss Pledge launched by the Miscarriage Association which to support people, including partners, during difficult times.

And it added in additional changes to offer IVF couples two days leave per cycle for up to five days a year.

Council leader Kelly Parry welcomed the report but said it was “unfathomable” that the right to paid leave for parents experiencing a miscarriage was not already available.

She said: “I really welcome this policy coming forward, it seems unfathomable we didn’t have it in place already.

“It is such a traumatising experience to go through miscarriage for both parents and IVF , you know having children is the best thing in the world and for those who need to go through IVF and other procedures it should be treated exactly the same.”

Councillors agreed to 10 days paid leave and to include couples who lose a child conceived during IVF treatment after discussions with officers.

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