NEW rules which entitle NHS England staff who miscarry to 10 days’ paid leave is a “momentous” step forward, a leading campaign group said today.

George’s Law, who have been fighting for new legislation in this area for almost two years, said it must now be a “stepping stone to wider change.”

Their founder Keeley Lengthorn said: “The decision by NHS England is a momentous step forward which will genuinely give hope and respite to tens of thousands of people each year. It’s inspiring to see our NHS staff being given 10 days paid leave from work for a miscarriage occurring under 24 weeks. If the NHS, who are struggling on their knees to survive, can offer this protection, so can others and so can our UK government.

“We now have a situation where NHS staff are rightly being given support. Yet they face having to send home bereaved parents knowing they won’t have the same rights. How can this be right?”

Keeley, who lost three children in three years including her son George, has also paid tribute to the string of major firms implementing the policy in their businesses.

“Well done to John Lewis, Lidl, Tesco and Santander for taking the lead and announcing two weeks paid leave for their employees who suffer a miscarriage under 24 weeks. I hope now that other big players will follow suit so employees within the retail and goods industry can get this much needed protection.

“This needs to be the stepping stone towards a change which will help support so many parents who are currently being abandoned at the moment of greatest need.”

Earlier this week NHS England said any of its staff who miscarry in the first 24 weeks of pregnancy can take 10 days’ paid leave. Partners can take five days. And staff who miscarry after six months will still be offered paid maternity leave.

The policy, adopted by Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust last year, is now being rolled out nationally.

An official for the NHS in Wales said it would consider offering a similar scheme.

It’s the latest boost to the George’s Law campaign.

Last month it was announced certificates recognising the loss of a baby born before 24 weeks would be issued to parents.

Keeley’s campaign has been backed by Labour MP Carolyn Harris, who is supporting the George’s Law campaign.


Keeley Lengthorn, a partner at the law firm Taylor Rose MW, had begun IVF treatment in August 2021 and was overwhelmed when her doctor told her she was pregnant. However, at 22 and a half weeks, her waters broke unexpectedly, and she was informed of the news every mother dreads – that her beautiful baby boy she had named George, would not survive.

On March 3, 2022, she gave birth to her son, who was born sleeping and weighed just a pound.

This was the third time Keeley had suffered a baby loss in three years. In February 2019, Keeley first suffered a miscarriage at six and a half weeks pregnant while at work in her office. Then in March 2020 during the first lockdown, she collapsed and was taken to the hospital, rushed into the emergency theatre to undergo an operation for an ectopic pregnancy and the removal of one of her fallopian tubes.

After the loss of her babies, Keeley has spoken to hundreds of mothers across the UK in the same position – feeling emotionally and physically incapable of returning to work immediately. She was fortunate enough that her employer had introduced a baby loss policy earlier in the year for pregnant women under 24 weeks, but thousands of working mothers across the country are still not offered this option by their employers. She is now fighting for a change to the law, which currently rules that employees only have the right to take statutory parental bereavement leave on the death of a child under 18 years of age – including after suffering a stillbirth – and after 24 weeks of pregnancy. Instead, Keeley believes the UK should follow New Zealand’s pregnancy loss policy model, offering three days of paid bereavement leave to the mother (and their partner) in the event of losing a pregnancy before 24 weeks.

She said: “Miscarriage is not an illness and should not be allocated ‘sick leave.’ The statistics speak for themselves: one in eight pregnancies results in miscarriage, 1 in 90 pregnancies are ectopic, and 1 in every 200 births in England is a stillbirth (death occurring after 24 weeks of pregnancy). “

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