Kelly celebrates introduction of paid bereavement leave for early pregnancy loss and miscarriage for Belfast City Council staff

Alliance Belfast City Councillor and Deputy Lord Mayor, Michelle Kelly, has celebrated the upcoming introduction of paid bereavement leave for those going through early pregnancy loss and miscarriage, following a motion she brought forward calling upon the Council to “recognise the emotional trauma and loss suffered by parents as a result of stillbirths and miscarriages”.

Belfast City Council Michelle Kelly

The new policy outlines the entitlement of Belfast City Council staff to 10 days of bereavement leave at full pay if they have suffered miscarriage, with 3 days offered to an employee who’s partner/surrogate parent has suffered miscarriage. Before, anyone impacted by the loss of a pregnancy under 24 weeks was not entitled to any protection at work under legislation, therefore leaving them having to take sick or annual leave.

Having now completed its equality screening, the policy will come into effect on 1 February.

Cllr Kelly, who has spoken out in the past about her own personal experiences of miscarriage and baby loss, has said:

For many families, this kind of loss is not a sickness or merely a health issue, but a bereavement. Anyone put in that heartbreaking, unenviable position deserves the opportunity to grieve their little one without having to worry about work or requesting the time off.

With over one in four pregnancies ending in loss, this is an issue that many don’t realise is so prevalent and affects so many people, and we need wider recognition of the hardships families face during this time of loss.

I’m heartened that we as a Council are stepping up to offer a much more compassionate bereavement leave policy for miscarriage and early pregnancy loss, and that we will be better able to support employees going through what can be some of their darkest moments.

I’m incredibly proud to have facilitated this much-needed change, and been part of its implementation.”