It is one of the hardest experiences someone can go through and, quite frankly, one of the least talked about. It does not just affect women but men too. Miscarriage is a traumatic experience for anyone close to the new mother—friends, co-workers and other family members who go through this with her. The excitement from the moment the first home test comes back positive to the devastation when a healthcare professional delivers the terrible news of the loss of the pregnancy.
According to studies cited by the March of Dimes, 10% to 15% of pregnancies end in miscarriage before the 12th week. Interestingly a new study released earlier this year by the Boston University School of Public Health shows that the risk of miscarriage in North America may increase by 44% in late August compared to late February, leading researchers to believe there may be a link to extreme heat and pregnancy loss.
It is statistics like these plus my observations of our employees that lead me to seek a way to support them during this difficult time. I knew I needed to do something as I learned of it happening with a couple of my staff. So, this past summer, I approached our CEO and board of directors to make a change to our bereavement policy.
Simple Wording Change Has Big Impact
When our employment handbook was written in 2016, the bereavement policy referenced the loss of an immediate family member and, by definition, included child(ren) and provided for three days of paid time off. This is in addition to days the employee has in any existing sick, vacation or paid time off bank. However, the original policy didn’t specify that an unborn child was considered in the same category as a family (child) member.
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