Channel 4 has announced the launch of its first ever dedicated pregnancy loss policy, designed to support employees through pregnancy loss – which includes but is not limited to miscarriage, stillbirth, and abortion.
Launched on Monday 26th April, the new policy coincided with the broadcast of Baby Surgeons: Delivering Miracles on Channel 4; a new four-part series capturing the incredible journey some expectant parents go through to save their babies during complex and sometimes precarious pregnancies.
The policy – believed to be the world’s first – 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 leading 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.
Pregnancy loss is sadly more common than many people think. An estimated one in every four pregnancies ends in miscarriage; one in every 200 births in the UK each year is classed as stillborn[ii]; and it’s estimated that one in three women will have an abortion in their lifetime.
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.
Like the menopause policy, the broadcaster is also publicly publishing this policy today 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.
Alex Mahon, Channel 4 CEO said: “At Channel 4 we recognise that the loss of a pregnancy, no matter the circumstances, can be a form of grief that can have a lasting emotional and physical impact on the lives of many women and their partners. Our dedicated policy by 4Women will help confront a subject that remains taboo whilst providing Channel 4’s employees with vital tools and support. We hope that by giving away this pioneering policy we’re able to encourage other organisations to do the same”.
On Thursday 29th April, 4Women will host a live virtual panel discussion which aims to demystify pregnancy loss, debunk misperceptions, and explore what companies like Channel 4 can do to better support women and men going through pregnancy loss.
Jane English, Landy Slattery and Navene Alim, Co-Chairs of 4Women said: “We felt we had to act after hearing heart-breaking 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.”
To find out more and to access the pregnancy loss policy visit www.channel4.com/corporate/pregnancy-loss-policy