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17 June 2024

SMEs Urged to Support Staff to Talk about Pregnancy or Baby Loss

A charity is calling on SMEs to train staff on how to talk to colleagues affected by pregnancy or baby loss.

A survey by the UK’s leading pregnancy and baby loss charity Sands has found that most people affected by pregnancy or baby loss (77%) returned to work after their loss, but more than half (53%) said no one talked to them about what had happened.

Those bereaved parents who had returned to work said that when no one asked about their loss it made them feel isolated and lonely at work (27%), or ‘like no one cared’ (24%).

However, when work colleagues did talk to them about their loss this had a positive impact, with most feeling supported and listened to (60%), like they and their baby mattered (38%), and better able to manage their workplace relationships (33%).

The charity is now urging all small and medium sized businesses to take up its offer of free Bereavement in the Workplace training so that anyone affected gets the support they need to return to their job if they want to.

The call on business comes as Sands launches its Finding the Words campaign at the start of its annual Sands Awareness Week, to help everyone feel more confident to start conversations.

Sands’ Head of Training and Strategic Planning Clare Worgan said:

“It can be difficult to talk about personal matters at work, particularly bereavement and especially the sensitive topic of pregnancy and baby loss. Most of us are worried about saying the wrong thing, which means that we say nothing at all, leaving colleagues feeling isolated and alone.

“Our advice is to be brave, acknowledge what has happened and offer support. Saying ‘I’m so sorry to hear about what happened to your baby’ is often enough to let your colleague know they are not alone.

“Sands’ training is designed to help managers and colleagues understand pregnancy and baby loss, find the words to support bereaved staff and navigate relevant employment law. We know from those organisations that have completed the training that it has made a real difference to the whole workplace, ensuring they can fulfil their duty of care for their staff and contribute to the mental health and resilience of their workforce.

“This is an issue that affects so many in society; half of UK adults have said that they, or someone they know, have experienced at least one form of pregnancy or baby loss. We know from listening to those who have been through these experiences that having a supportive workplace is vital for their wellbeing.”

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