AN SNP MP has called on the UK Government to bring in paid miscarriage leave for those who lose a baby at the start of their pregnancy, after measures were introduced in Northern Ireland.

Angela Crawley, MP for Lanark and Hamilton East, has written to the Business Secretary urging him to consider the policy for paid leave for people who lose a baby before their 24th week of pregnancy, arguing it would help women and couples who have gone through trauma.

In a letter to Kwasi Kwarteng, sent today, Ms Crawley said that some people feel they cannot grieve for their loss properly as they do not receive paid leave, and are forced to take sick leave of use their holiday allowance. 

She is calling for the UK Government to bring in paid leave for people who have lost a baby before 24 weeks gestation, which is currently not covered. 

She said: "The experience of miscarriage has a negative impact on the mental and physical health of the person carrying the child and their partner.

"It has been highlighted that due to the lack of statutory support, many in this position feel they are unable to grieve adequately. Many workers find themselves in a dilemma: to use sick leave or annual leave; or to return to work during a time of grief."

The MP also added that while some companies have taken it upon themselves to bring in paid leave for people who lose a baby, many do not, leaving "unfairness in every industry".

She added: "I believe this can be remedied by introducing paid miscarriage leave across the UK."

Northern Ireland passed their Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill earlier this month, which will see statutory support offered in the event of a miscarriage.

Ms Crawley said she was "delighted" to see the Bill pass, adding: "I encourage you to consider the introduction of paid miscarriage leave, either through amending the Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Act 2018, or by introducing provisions through the Government’s proposed Employment Bill."

Speaking to The Herald, she said: "Northern Ireland has shown the way forward and now is the time for the rest of the UK to follow in their footsteps.

“My private members’ bill is still live and the UK Government are planning to introduce new employment legislation soon so there are plenty of opportunities for them to do the right thing and extend bereavement support to include miscarriage.

“I would welcome the opportunity to sit down with the business secretary and discuss the best way forward so that we can properly support every parent across the UK.”

A UK government spokesman said: "Losing a child is devastating for parents, which is why we have legislated to give parents who are in this terrible position, including those who suffer a stillbirth after 24 weeks, a statutory right to Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay.

“The entitlement is just a starting point for employers, and we urge them to show compassion and flexibility towards women who have suffered a miscarriage, and to respond sensitively to each individual’s specific needs.”