The recent news from New Zealand has inspired us to make the implicit explicit; to formalise and extend our Bereavement Leave offering at Impala - and additionally to provide a separate extended policy for Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Neonatal Death.
We're sharing this publicly because miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death is tragic but it is sadly not uncommon, and it is not widely talked about either. We hope that by generating discourse on the topic, we can encourage other individuals and companies to think more explicitly about it too.
We always would offer time-off and reasonable considerations for any parent who has experienced loss of a baby at any stage.
But as we're a small team, it's always been ad hoc. We've never had a formal leave policy around it and have assumed that folks would let us know if they required bereavement time off for miscarriage at any stage.
But upon examining the topic more, we think it's actually so important to formalise and make that explicit no matter our size - to remove any ambiguity or anxiety — so that every Impalan at any stage in pregnancy can feel confident and safe to request parental bereavement leave, without guilt.
Depending on the stage and circumstances of the pregnancy or loss, individuals are entitled to take off additional time to both physical/mental health reasons. In this instance it may be treated as extended sick leave.
This extended Parental Bereavement Leave exists within our wider existing Bereavement Leave policy.
The UK currently offers statutory paid maternity/paternity leave for any parent who suffers stillbirth after 24 weeks. However according to NCT charity, more than 80% of miscarriages occur within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy in the UK - meaning that most parents who suffer from loss don't receive any statutory paid time off. We want to extend that, in order to recognise the difficulty of loss even in early pregnancy.
To quote Ginny Andersen, the NZ Labour member of Parliament who drafted the bill: “I felt that it would give women the confidence to be able to request that leave if it was required, as opposed to just being stoic and getting on with life, when they knew that they needed time, physically or psychologically, to get over the grief”.
We hope that no Impalan needs to use this policy, but we hope all Impalans know that it is there if they require it.