Alliance is to offer bereavement leave for employees affected by miscarriage and stillbirth, Chief Whip Kellie Armstrong MLA has said.
Ms Armstrong was speaking ahead of the latest stage of the Parental Bereavement Bill in the Assembly today (Monday). It aims to bring in statutory paid leave of two weeks for those who have suffered the loss of a child under 18 or stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy. But Ms Armstrong called on others to do what the could to help out in the meantime.
“This proposed Bill, from Diane Dodds, is welcome and would bring Northern Ireland in line with other areas of the UK,” said Ms Armstrong.
“A number of companies have also announced they will provide two weeks of paid leave for people who have had a miscarriage or stillbirth, and the New Zealand government recently passed a Bill doing similar. But we can be doing more now to help.
“We need to see a compassionate, fair and progressive approach to dealing with this issue. The Assembly Bill may well do that when it completes its passage but in the meantime, I am proud to say Alliance are now offering two weeks of paid leave to those who have suffered this horrific loss, so they do not have to use sick days or annual leave.
“An estimated one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage. Most workplaces will therefore have staff who have been or will be affected. Those who suffer miscarriage or stillbirth go through emotional trauma. Expecting people to set aside that loss and just get on with their lives without taking part in the grieving process properly only compounds that and I encourage others who don’t offer this option to do so.”