Channel 4 implements first pregnancy loss policy
Published on: 28/04/2021
Channel 4 has launched a ‘world first’ pregnancy loss policy for male and female staff, offering support and time off for up to two weeks. The new plan aims to allow anyone, inclusive of all genders, to grieve the loss of their unborn child, including but not limited to miscarriage, stillbirth, and abortion. The scheme is inclusive of whether it happened to the employee directly, to their partner, or to their baby’s surrogate. In a statement released on LinkedIn, the team at Channel 4 explained the policy ‘also recognises pregnancy loss as an experience not isolated to women or heterosexual couples’.
‘C4 consulted several leading charities on the policy which includes: two weeks leave on full-pay; paid leave for medical appointments; flexible working; an array of resources including medical support, counselling, and a buddying scheme to support employees returning to work after a loss,’ they stated in the outline. ‘The policy has also been devised for line managers and colleagues of staff directly affected who wish to provide appropriate practical and emotional support to those affected.’
One in four pregnancies end in a miscarriage, while one in every 200 births in the UK are classified as stillborn, and one in three women have an abortion at some point in their lifetime. Alex Mahon, chief executive of Channel 4, said: ‘At Channel 4 we recognise that the loss of a pregnancy, no matter the circumstances, can be a form of grief that can have a lasting emotional and physical impact on the lives of many women and their partners.
‘Our dedicated policy by 4Women will help confront a subject that remains taboo while providing Channel 4’s employees with vital tools and support. ‘We hope that by giving away this pioneering policy we’re able to encourage other organisations to do the same.’ Channel 4’s groundbreaking new policy comes after New Zealand passed a bill allowing three days bereavement leave after a miscarriage or stillbirth sparked a new call for something similar in the UK.
MAMA Academy very much welcomes this policy and hopes that other companies will adopt something similar too to support families during one of the most tragic times of their lives.
Currently in the UK, you or your partner are not entitled to any leave if you were to have a stillbirth or miscarriage. You can only take sick leave, as long as your GP signs you off, and it’s marked and protected as a ‘pregnancy related illness’ so it doesn’t count towards your sickness record. India was the first country to implement bereavement leave for miscarriages, allowing up to six weeks leave. This bill was passed in 1961.
Picture: Channel 4