Northern Ireland to lead UK in introducing miscarriage leave and pay
Northern Ireland will become the first part of the UK and one of the first countries in the world to introduce miscarriage leave and pay under plans now out for consultation.
The two-month consultation follows the recent introduction of the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act (Northern Ireland) 2022, which includes provision for working parents who experience the death of a child or a stillbirth but not a miscarriage.
The Department for the Economy has proposed the extension of the law to include unintentional miscarriages through secondary legislation.
The consultation paper states: “Northern Ireland will be the first region of the United Kingdom to place such miscarriage 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.”
Economy minister Gordon Lyons 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 still birth 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 being launched today 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.”
He added: “This consultation is a key milestone in moving the legislative process forward.”