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HomeLegal News"This year we must change the law"

“This year we must change the law”

A solicitor who has led a national campaign demanding statutory leave for those who suffer a pregnancy loss has vowed “2023 is the year we must change the law” in this area.

 

Keeley Lengthorn, who lost three children in the space of three years, fears thousands of people will “needlessly suffer” unless new rules are introduced on statutory leave.

 

Under current laws if a baby is stillborn after 24 weeks of pregnancy, or dies shortly after birth, employees are legally entitled to maternity or paternity leave and pay.  Yet if someone suffers a pregnancy loss before 24 weeks, it is up to the employer to decide to provide any paid leave. 

 

Keeley, a partner with Taylor Rose MW Solicitors, is fighting to change this by supporting the Miscarriage Leave Bill, drafted by SNP MP Angela Crawley.  The second reading of the bill was stalled back in December and will now be heard on March 24.

And although the bill has been supported by some MPs, Keeley said many more are yet to offer their backing – a position she says needs to change. 

 

Keeley, who lives in Bromley, said: “Now is the time to turn talk into action, and bring about change for 2023. For every year that passes without the law changing, thousands more men and women will needlessly suffer. Allowing people statutory time off will help individuals and families to cope with one of the most difficult experiences that they will go through in their life.”

 

Directly appealing to MPs to support her campaign she continued: “As we begin the start of a new year, my message to all MPs is what better time could there be to take a stance and make a change? We hear time and time again about politicians wanting to make a change and a difference. 

 

“Well, this is an opportunity for MPs to do just that. Changing the law in this area will make a difference, and benefit the one in three families in their constituency who are likely to be impacted by miscarriage at some point in their lives.” Keeley’s son George was born sleeping on the third of March 3, 2022. 

 

The loss came two years ago after Keeley had a miscarriage at work and a year after she suffered an ectopic pregnancy. Months before losing George, Keeley had successfully persuaded her company to introduce a baby loss policy. Tragically she ended up being the first person in the business who needed to use it.

 

Explaining how this tragedy is fuelling her fight Keeley said:

 

“At the end part of 2021, it became very apparent to me that New Zealand was taking a lot of action in terms of supporting employees at work. The New Zealand president has enacted a policy which meant that every employee who suffered a miscarriage no matter what their gestation was entitled to three days paid leave. So I drafted a policy and I presented it to my firm, Taylor Rose MW Solicitors, and I asked for it to be enacted in the business. It was enacted in January, 2022 and unfortunately, I was the first person to use it. So when I lost George, I was fortunate enough to have the full support of the business and which meant that I got paid.  But others aren’t able to rely on this and it was very apparent to me via  people contacting me that there is no statutory protection for any pregnancy loss beyond 24 weeks. And this lack of protection is having a devastating impact on many people’s lives. That’s why this law change is so important.”

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