Digital marketing agency Hallam has offered five days of compassionate leave for both female and male employees in the event of a miscarriage.
The policy includes paid leave for any associated or follow-up medical appointments and fertility treatment, as well as two days of paid leave when menstruation returns afterwards.
The provision also includes access to Hallam’s mental health first aiders for those who feel they would benefit from professional counselling. In addition, employees have the option of a phased return to work, which includes a meeting to outline working arrangements, required adjustments, and how a return can be managed.
Project delivery team lead Natasha Knowles put together the company’s policy after suffering a miscarriage herself. She said that it is about creating trust, transparency, and understanding between the employee and the employer, so people feel comfortable dealing with the situation without judgement.
Knowles said: “It can feel like you shouldn’t talk about something like a miscarriage because there is a lot of systematic silencing of women and men on the topic, which includes the ‘don’t talk about your pregnancy before three months’ notion. There are also no statutory rights for those who physically experience a miscarriage under 24 weeks or for their partners. That’s wrong. It angered me. As someone that has gone through this, I felt compelled to challenge it. So, I started with my own place of work, at Hallam.”
Pointing to an online petition which calls for both men and women to receive statutory paid leave in the event of a miscarriage, Knowles believes that people should feel able to discuss the issue with their employer without fear of discrimination.
She added: “The more companies that do it, the more people that sign the petition, the more pressure it puts on the government to change these statutory rights. I want companies to feel pressure, from the likes of Hallam, that it’s no longer acceptable to have nothing in place for people who experience a miscarriage. There is a cultural change that needs to happen. There has to be some humanity.”