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Miscarriage and Stillbirth at Work


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Miscarriage and Stillbirth at Work 24 Weeks of Pregnancy

If a child is lost in the first 24 weeks of pregnancy, the loss is not regarded as “childbirth” in law, and so you would not be entitled to any rights under maternity legislation. This would be a pregnancy -related illness and your employer should deal with this situation under the sickness procedure. Your sick pay should not be less than the sick-pay of your colleagues who are not pregnant.

You should not be treated unfavourably by your employer during the protected period because of a pregnancy-related illness. It would be unlawful pregnancy and maternity discrimination under section 18(2)  of the Equality Act 2010, and any dismissal would be automatically unfair.

You should also not be subjected to detriment by your employer. This would be discriminatory and unlawful under Regulation 19 of the Maternity and Paternity Leave etc. Regulations 1999.

Your partner is entitled to time off for dependants under section 57A of the Employment Rights Act 1996.


Miscarriage and Stillbirth After 24 Weeks of Pregnancy

If you suffer a miscarriage or stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy, you are entitled to up to 52 weeks statutory maternity leave and pay.  Your maternity leave will start the day after the loss.

Your partner may be entitled to statutory paternity leave and pay as well as time off for dependants.


The legal right to paid parental bereavement leave is called “Jack’s Law” in memory of Jack Herd whose mother Lucy campaigned tirelessly for 10 years on the issue. Lucy’s 23-month-old son Jack, drowned in a pond in 2010 and his father returned to work just three days after his death. Thanks to Lucy Herd, parents who suffer who suffer the devastating loss of a child will be entitled to 2 weeks’ statutory leave.

The Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Regulations  and the Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay (General) Regulations 2020 (Jack’s Law) implement a statutory right to a minimum of 2 weeks’ leave for all employed parents if they lose a child under the age of 18, or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy, irrespective of how long they have worked for their employer.

The regulations come into effect on 6 April 2020, and allow a parent to take either one or two weeks’ paid leave (the two weeks can be separate). The leave is paid at the lower of £151.20 per week or 90% of salary. Parents will be able to take the leave as either a single block of 2 weeks, or as 2 separate blocks of one week each taken at different times across the first year after their child’s death. This means they can match their leave to the times they need it most, which could be in the early days or over the first anniversary.


Best of the Web

Jack’s Law

The Miscarriage Association: Miscarriage and the workplace: A Guide for Employers

Working Families – Miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death: Your rights at work

ACAS – Compassionate Leave – Taking time off for bereavement

– Managing bereavement in the workplace – A Good Practice Guide

– Time off for dependants

GOV.UK: Time off for family dependants

Totaljobs – A Guide to bereavement leave

Last Updated: [11/09/2021]