Luton MP calls for bereavement leave to extend to those who miscarry in early pregnancy

sarah owen MP ITV News
Credit: ITV News Anglia

A Luton MP has urged the Government to extend bereavement leave to people who miscarry in early pregnancy, telling the Commons: "I can't believe in 2021 people are forced to take sick leave to process their grief."

The Labour MP for Luton North MP Sarah Owen recalled her own experience of miscarrying at work during her first pregnancy.

Her Bill would extend entitlement to parental bereavement leave and pay to parents of babies miscarried or stillborn during early pregnancy.

Sarah Owen recalled her own experience of miscarrying at work during her first pregnancy

Ms Owen added: "There will be families who will face this grief everywhere and I can't believe in 2021 people are forced to take sick leave to process their grief."

"The first time it took me two days to completely miscarry, the second time I carried the little ones around with me for nearly a week until I went under general anaesthetic to have them removed."

The MP said: "I can't imagine going through all of that without a supportive employer, yet thousands of women in this country do and that is why the law must change... The call to extend bereavement leave to people who miscarry in early pregnancy has cross-party support."

"My proposal today would be an ideal strengthening of people's rights at work in any future Employment Bill. We shouldn't have to wait any longer to make this change."

She went on: "Grief hits everyone differently, but one thing that is universal is that it takes time. It's why people are entitled to bereavement leave when losing a loved one. I wasn't prepared for the grief of miscarrying, I was even more shocked that I wasn't entitled to bereavement leave, but legally had to take sick pay instead."

Ms Owen's Bereavement Leave and Pay (Stillborn and Miscarried Babies) Bill was listed for a second reading on February 25 next year.