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NHS England introduces paid leave for staff experiencing pregnancy loss as part of pioneering new policy

13th March 2024

We’ve been delighted to be able to support the development of NHS England’s new National Pregnancy and Baby Loss People Policy Framework for NHS Trusts. As part of this, NHS staff who suffer a pregnancy or baby loss before 24 weeks of pregnancy will now receive up to ten days additional paid leave, under new guidance issued to NHS Trusts in England today.

Women who experience a miscarriage, ectopic or molar pregnancy or termination for medical reasons will now be offered up to ten days paid leave and their partners will be offered up to five. Those who experience a loss after six months of pregnancy will remain eligible for paid maternity leave.

The National Pregnancy and Baby Loss People Policy Framework will ask NHS Trusts to give staff paid time off to attend appointments, including for medical examinations, scans and tests, as well as mental health-related interventions. Staff will also be offered occupational health support including referrals to specialist services at their Trust, or specialist miscarriage and baby loss charities and organisations.

The introduction of paid leave for NHS staff following a miscarriage was first trialled at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Trust, where a staff survey found that staff were twice as likely to stay with their employer as a result of the policy.

One in four pregnancies in the UK end in miscarriage, meaning that hundreds of NHS staff experience miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy or medical termination every year. A national CIPD survey found that almost a quarter (24%) of UK employees that had experienced pregnancy or baby loss left their jobs following a poor experience with their organisations.


Dr Navina Evans, Chief Workforce, Training and Education Officer, said: “Baby loss is an extremely traumatic experience that hundreds of NHS staff experience each year, and it is right they are treated with the utmost care and compassion when going through such an upsetting experience.

“We know the significance of getting support right in the very first instance for our staff, which is why for the first time in the healthcare sector we are providing paid leave so parents can take time out to process this traumatic experience as well as paid time to attend appointments.

“I hope that this formal guidance will see other sectors in the UK adopt such supportive approaches to miscarriage in their own organisations – and if you have experienced baby loss, please come forward to one of our bereavement services which have been rolled out nationally, from this month.”


Raffaela Goodby, Chief People Officer at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s who first trialled the policy said: “I hope this national policy to support mother’s and parents with love and compassion at a terrible time in their employment is welcomed across the NHS and drives positive change across the UK.

“Structured support at work for people experiencing miscarriage can have a lifelong impact on the people involved, I hope policies like this become the norm for the NHS and I am grateful to Staff Side, NHSE, Tommy’s and The Miscarriage Association for their energy and support’.


Vicki Robinson, Deputy Director of the Miscarriage Association, one of the advisory organisations for the policy, comments, “We know that pregnancy loss can have a huge impact on those affected, and the path of recovery can be unpredictable.

“At times like this, it’s crucial to have an employer that supports you, both interpersonally and through policy. NHS England has taken a hugely important step in implementing this policy, which will benefit thousands of its staff.

“We were pleased to be able to offer our expert support and guidance on the development of this pioneering policy, and will continue to press hard for paid leave to be extended to all UK employees.”


Minister for Women’s Health Strategy, Maria Caulfield said: “Our brilliant NHS workers look after us when we need it most and this new guidance is a positive step towards ensuring they are supported through the tragedy of losing of a baby.

“This delivers on key recommendations made in the Pregnancy Loss Review and is part of our efforts to improve women’s health through the Women’s Health Strategy. We look forward to announcing further support measures to help parents going through this heartbreaking experience”.


We look forward to paid leave, and the terms of the National Pregnancy and Baby Loss People Policy Framework becoming the norm across all workplaces.

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