Northern Ireland opens consultation on miscarriage leave and pay

Northern Ireland opens consultation on miscarriage leave and pay

The Department for Economy in Northern Ireland has launched a consultation on miscarriage leave and pay.

The two-month consultation, which opened on 24 October, will bring forward dedicated legislation for miscarriage leave and pay in Northern Ireland.

The consultation has proposed introducing these measures as an amendment to the existing policy of parental bereavement leave and pay, which came into effect in Northern Ireland in April 2022.

The consultation document stated that Northern Ireland will be the first region of the United Kingdom to place such protections and entitlements for workers and employees who experience a miscarriage on a statutory footing, and one of the first countries in the world to do so.

Gordon Lyons, economy minister, said: “The loss of any pregnancy is a source of profound sorrow and grief. I believe that employment law should be compassionate and supportive of those who experience such a loss.

Working parents who experience a stillbirth after the 24th week of pregnancy have a statutory entitlement to two weeks’ leave and pay. I believe a worker or employee who experiences a miscarriage up to the end of the 23rd week of pregnancy should have the same protections.

“The public consultation seeks views on this proposal. The views of stakeholders and the wider public are very important and I want to make sure we take them into account as we commence the legislative process.

“This consultation is a key milestone in moving the legislative process forward.”