Renfrewshire Council

Flexible approach to pregnancy loss support for staff

We spoke to our head of people and organisational development, Marlene Boyd, to find out more about our approach to supporting colleagues through pregnancy loss.

Marlene Boyd What prompted the Council to look at a pregnancy loss policy?

We have an outstanding group of people working here at the Council. Looking after their wellbeing and helping everyone to thrive will always be my top priority and my team are working hard to make sure we continue to have the right support in place for colleagues when they need it.
Listening to feedback, we knew we wanted to provide further support to colleagues experiencing pregnancy loss, which is often very difficult to talk about and can have a profound impact on people's lives.

How did you go about this?

To help us enhance our support, we followed advice from the Miscarriage Association, which is a UK charity committed to making a positive difference to those affected by the distress of pregnancy loss. We also signed up to their pregnancy loss pledge and have developed a new person-centric approach with empathy, flexibility and awareness at its heart.

And what has been the outcome?

Our new supporting colleagues through pregnancy loss policy now provides clear guidance around the range of flexible support we offer. 
This includes: 

  • Up to two weeks paid leave, tailored to best provide support for individual circumstances 
  • Up to two weeks paid leave for partners to support those affected by the experience of pregnancy loss
  • Up to two weeks paid leave for colleagues who are intended parents and experience pregnancy loss through IVF or with using a surrogate
  • Time off for medical appointments and access to support with bereavement and grief
  • Emergency special leave for family members, such as grandparents, to help them support loved ones experiencing a pregnancy loss
  • Access to our confidential Employee Assistance Programme, Time for Talking, for free, professional counselling, 24 hours a day
  • Tailored, flexible adjustments to help the transition back to work

How are you helping managers to support their team members?

It's important to note that this policy is not a 'one-size fits all' approach at all. It very much relies on leadership and management setting the tone to nurture the positive, friendly and inclusive work environment where our colleagues feel able to have these sensitive conversations. To ensure managers understand how best to support colleagues experiencing pregnancy loss, we have developed manager guidance along with full details on all of our support and dedicated resources.

Our policy is available on our Supporting colleagues through pregnancy loss webpage.

Visit our taking care of our employees' wellbeing webpages for more on how we help our colleagues to look after their physical and mental health.

Published on Monday 3 July 2023