Channel 4 has launched a dedicated pregnancy loss policy, designed to support employees through pregnancy loss – which includes, but is not limited to miscarriage, stillbirth, and abortion.
The policy will support both women and men who have been affected - whether it happens directly to them, their partner or their baby’s surrogate mother, regardless of the nature of their loss, and whatever their length of service. It also recognises pregnancy loss as an experience not isolated to women or heterosexual couples.
Channel 4 consulted several charities on the policy which includes: two weeks leave on full-pay; paid leave for medical appointments; flexible working; an array of resources including medical support, counselling, and a buddying scheme to support employees returning to work after a loss.
The policy has also been devised for line managers and colleagues of staff directly affected who wish to provide appropriate practical and emotional support to those affected.
Channel 4 is aiming to end the stigma around women’s health issues by helping to normalise taboo subjects and make them more visible. It follows the launch of the channel’s Menopause policy in 2019 which inspired similar action in workplaces across the world. Reward Strategy interviewed Channel 4 on this issue at its Reward & Payroll Summit in 2020.
Like the menopause policy, the broadcaster is also publicly publishing this policy with the aim of making it even easier for other organisations to take it and make their own.
Channel 4’s people team now has a dedicated Pregnancy Loss Champion. Also offering support is the broadcaster’s mental health employee network 4Mind, and their Parents & Carers community, as well as in-house gender equality staff network 4Women, who are responsible for the new policy.
Jane English, Landy Slattery and Navene Alim, co-chairs of 4Women, said: “We felt we had to act after hearing heartbreaking stories of staff suffering in silence with pregnancy loss. We wanted to recognise that it’s not just women and heterosexual couples who are affected by such losses. And we chose to make the policy publicly available so that other companies could take it and make it their own and help tackle the stigma and lack of support surrounding pregnancy loss.”