The online bank Monzo has become one of the first UK companies to offer paid leave for employees who are affected by the loss of a pregnancy.
Part of the bank’s mental health drive, the move follows the departure of its founder and former Chief Executive, Tom Blomfield, who stepped down in January in the wake of his own struggles with anxiety and stress.
Monzo’s policy will give either partner up to 10 extra days of paid leave if they lose a baby due to abortion, miscarriage, or stillbirth, regardless of when in the pregnancy it happens.
“This also includes colleagues who are partners or surrogate mothers, recognizing that pregnancy loss doesn’t just affect women or heterosexual couples,” the bank said. Extra leave can be approved by managers if staff feel they need more than two weeks.
Under UK employment law, businesses only have to allow parents to use planned maternity or paternity leave if they lose their baby after 24 weeks when it is considered a stillbirth. Any loss before that is counted as a miscarriage and does not qualify them for maternity leave or pay. It is then up to the discretion of employers whether to offer compassionate leave, annual leave, or unpaid holiday.
Monzo, which was founded in 2015 and employs about 1,600 people, is one of the first UK companies known to implement paid leave for pregnancy loss. The announcement comes weeks after Channel 4 said it believed it was setting a world first when it launched a pregnancy loss policy including two weeks’ paid leave.
Monzo’s policy was quietly rolled out two months ago and will be expanded to its handful of US staff over the next six to eight weeks. Campaigners welcomed the news and are hoping that other businesses follow suit.
In March, New Zealand became one of the first countries in the world to offer support to couples who experience child loss at any stage of their pregnancy.
Couples in the country who have a miscarriage or stillbirth are eligible for three days' paid bereavement leave under a new law approved by the New Zealand parliament. Similar laws have been introduced in India and the Philippines.