Miscarriages, Still Births and Premature Births

Miscarriages, still births and premature births present a very sad set of circumstances for the HR hat wearer in any business. I received 2 calls relating to this very subject last week and then heard the news on Sunday about Amanda Holden’s loss. This article provides a brief overview of the rights a woman has in the event of a miscarriage, still birth or premature birth to maternity leave.

Before the 25th Week of Pregnancy

Stillbirth or Miscarriage
If a woman miscarries her baby earlier than the 25th week of her pregnancy, i.e. up to the 7th day of the 24th week, she will not qualify for any maternity leave, statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance. If she takes a period of sickness absence from work, she should be paid her contractual sick pay, or Statutory Sick Pay if there is no contractual sick pay.

Birth of a Living Child
If a woman gives birth to a living child, even in cases where the baby later dies, at any point in her pregnancy she will be entitled to maternity leave, statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance in the usual way.

25th Week of Pregnancy and Onwards

If a woman has a stillbirth from the 25 weeks onwards, she would be eligible to maternity leave, statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance in the usual way.

Top Tips

The main recommendation I make in these circumstances is to talk to your employee and find out what they want to do and most importantly ask them what message they want you to give out to other employees about what has most likely been a sudden and unplanned absence from the workplace.

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Miscarriages, Still Births and Premature Births


Kathryn is a highly experienced HR Manager with a wealth of skills and knowledge acquired across a variety of industries including manufacturing, health and social care and financial services. She has worked in small localised business and larger multi sited organisations and is comfortable liaising with senior managers and union officials as well as answering queries from team members. Connect with Kathryn on:

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