Luton North MP who campaigned for law change welcomes new NHS miscarriage leave guidance

“Thank you to our NHS for showing that giving grieving parents paid leave is not only possible - but essential.”
Sarah Owen, Luton North MPSarah Owen, Luton North MP
Sarah Owen, Luton North MP

Luton North MP has welcomed new NHS guidance which recommends that all women who lose a baby should be entitled to two weeks’ paid leave, after campaigning for a change in the law.

Sarah Owen presented the Bereavement Leave and Pay (Stillborn and Miscarried Babies Bill) to Parliament during the 2021-22 session and wants every woman who goes through miscarriage to be legally entitled to the paid leave.

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Under current legislation, women are only entitled to bereavement leave after 24 weeks. The law, said Owen, “hasn’t caught up with society’s view of miscarriage, to allow people the time to grieve”. The Private Members’ Bill was backed by baby loss awareness group, Sands, and DUP, Labour and Conservative MPs.

Ms Owen, who spoke in the House of Commons about her own experience of having to take sick leave after miscarrying, is calling for the guidance to be adopted formally into law.

The MP said: “After years of calling for paid bereavement leave for parents who lose a pregnancy, I welcome this announcement from the NHS - the biggest employer in the country with a workforce made up largely of women.

“I know the difference that time to grieve and heal made to me and my family after our multiple miscarriages. All working women should be entitled to that right.

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“The government must follow the NHS and other employers’ example and put this into legislation along the lines outlined in my Private Members Bill Bereavement Leave and Pay (Stillborn and Miscarried Babies) Bill.”