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Bromley lawyer campaigning for George’s Law to entitle parents to paid leave after early pregnancy baby loss

A campaigner and lawyer is calling for paid leave for parents who lose a baby in early pregnancy.

Keeley Lengthorn, from Bromley, suffered three miscarriages in three years, but she wasn't entitled to any time off after her son George was stillborn at 23 weeks.

Keeley Lengthorn, who had three miscarriages, is calling for a change to the law. Picture: Keeley Lengthorn/PA
Keeley Lengthorn, who had three miscarriages, is calling for a change to the law. Picture: Keeley Lengthorn/PA

She said: “I’ve had three miscarriages to date. My first was at six weeks, and then I had an ectopic pregnancy which ruptured.

“Shortly after my ectopic pregnancy I discovered that there was no paid leave from work.

“So I was very lucky that my employer paid for me to be away from work.

“It was quite topical at the time and there was legislation introduced in New Zealand, where the Prime Minister was introducing paid statutory leave for men and women in the event of a loss under 24 weeks, and that was three days.”

Keely, who is a partner at south east firm Taylor Rose NW Solicitors, produced a baby loss policy and presented it to her HR director.

“That was implemented as a firm-wide policy in December 2021,” she said.

“Unfortunately I was the first person to use the baby loss policy when I lost my son George in March 2022.

“The document in its current stance means that employees get three days paid leave but it’s discretionary.

“For instance, when George died my employer was really good and I had six weeks of paid leave.

“Additionally I have implemented within the firm the role of a fertility officer, which is me.

“A fertility officer is someone you can approach in the firm in the event of a loss.

“If someone is having fertility treatment or has a loss, or is pregnant and doesn’t want to be pregnant they can contact me separately from HR and we can talk it through. Then I liaise with HR separately according to their wishes and feelings.”

“After George died I was supported by Abigail’s Footsteps who are a huge baby loss charity in Kent.

“We did some fundraising for a cold cot for George and we raised about £30,000.

“It was at that juncture I realised I needed to do something nationally.”

In June 2022, Keeley started a national campaign calling all employers in the country to implement George’s Law.

She added: “Many people say to me three days is not enough, but it’s baby steps. Three days is the starting point and not the end point.

“It’s like something out of The Handmaid’s Tale - it’s so archaic and outdated...”

“We can’t just rely on the goodwill of these employers, we need to have statutory paid leave in the form of legislation.

“I just cannot believe that in this day and age we’ve not got this protection in place. How are we in 2024 and we’re not offering three days of paid leave for people that lose a baby?

“We’ve got women that are giving birth to children and are leaving them and are not only having to recover physically but also mentally and emotionally.

“They’re having to plan a funeral and the law is saying they should be back at work. It’s like something out of The Handmaid’s Tale - it’s so archaic and outdated.

“I’m calling on all employers to implement a baby loss policy nationwide, and I’m happy to provide a copy of ours – and to tell the world that you’re doing it.

“Support George’s Law, across all social media platforms.”

Abigail’s Footsteps has released a podcast speaking with families who have bravely stepped forward to tell their experiences of baby loss. Click here to listen.

A Journey with Abigail’s Footsteps is an IM Listening production.

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