Pregnancy and baby loss are far more widespread than many people think, with an estimated one in four pregnancies sadly ending in loss. However, our research shows workplace support for people experiencing pregnancy or baby loss is significantly lacking, especially considering the majority of these losses happen to individuals who are of working age.

This report is based on the findings of two surveys, looking at employer provision as well as employees’ experience at work.

We want more organisations to recognise pregnancy and baby loss as an important workplace health and wellbeing issue. Having a framework of effective and inclusive support can make a big difference to employees at a challenging and distressing time. Our findings demonstrate the positive impact of the support on people’s mental wellbeing, their ability to perform well in their job and their intention to stay with their employer.

While these findings are based on UK data, the broader trends and implications should be of interest wherever you are based.

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Workplace support for employees experiencing pregnancy or baby loss

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Key findings

  • Just over a third of organisations (36%) have a policy concerning pregnancy loss/miscarriage, whether it’s a standalone policy or part of a wider one. 
  • The top three most helpful forms of employer support, according to employees who had experienced pregnancy and baby loss are: paid compassionate or other special leave, understanding from their manager that it can be a challenging time, paid time off to attend appointments. 
  • One in five people (21%) said they didn’t receive any support from their employer. 
  • Only a quarter (24%) of senior decision makers surveyed said that their organisation encourages an open and supportive climate to a great extent, where employees can talk about issues like pregnancy loss. 
  • Almost a quarter (24%) of employees considered leaving their job because of their experience at work. 

Based on these findings, the CIPD have developed some key principles to provide effective support: 

CIPD good practice principles for workplace support 

  1. Raise awareness across the organisation about the need for pregnancy or baby loss to be recognised as an important workplace wellbeing issue. 
  2. Create an open, inclusive and supportive culture. 
  3. Develop an organisational framework to support employees experiencing pregnancy or baby loss. 
  4. Manage absence and leave with compassion and flexibility. 
  5. Equip line managers to support people with empathy and understanding. 

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