A miscarriage is where a pregnancy ends before the end of the 24th week and there was no live birth. The rights below do not apply. See: Miscarriage
Stillbirth is where a baby is not born alive after the end of the 24th week of pregnancy.
The end of the 24th week of pregnancy for entitlement to maternity leave and pay is calculated by counting back 16 weeks from the Sunday at the start of the expected week of childbirth.
Maternity leave following a stillbirth
An employee whose baby is stillborn is entitled to Ordinary Maternity Leave and Additional Maternity Leave.
Maternity leave will start on the day after the date of stillbirth.
More information on Ordinary Maternity Leave, Additional Maternity Leave and Statutory Maternity Pay can be found in the Maternity Leave and Pay section of this toolkit.
Maternity Pay following a stillbirth
An employee whose baby is stillborn will also be entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay provided she satisfies the relevant eligibility criteria. See Maternity Leave and Pay
The Statutory Maternity Pay period will start on the day following the date of the stillbirth.
If the baby is stillborn before the end of the qualifying week, the period over which the employee’s earnings are averaged for Statutory Maternity Pay calculation purposes will be the eight weeks up to the last payday before the week in which the baby was stillborn.
If an employee’s baby is stillborn while she is on maternity leave and receiving Statutory Maternity Pay, no action needs to be taken by the employee and her entitlements continue as before the stillbirth.
Notice for maternity leave and pay following a stillbirth
If the baby is stillborn before the employee has started her maternity leave or Statutory Maternity Pay, special notification rules apply. The employee must notify her employer as soon as practicable after the birth that she has given birth and the date of the stillbirth. The notice must be in writing if requested by the employer. To claim Statutory Maternity Pay, the employee must also provide her employer with medical evidence of the EWC (usually in the form of the MAT B1 certificate) and evidence of the date the baby was stillborn.
If the employee has already given notice for her Statutory Maternity Pay to start but it is to start early because of the stillbirth, she must also let her employer know (in writing if the employer so requests it) the date her absence began.
Notice for Statutory Maternity Pay must be given within 28 days of the stillbirth or as soon as reasonably possible.
Paternity Leave and Pay following a stillbirth
Statutory Paternity Leave and Statutory Paternity Pay is available where a baby is stillborn. See the Paternity leave and pay section of this toolkit for more information.
Death of a baby
If an employee’s baby is born alive but dies afterwards this will be classed as a live birth regardless of how long the pregnancy lasted and how long the baby lived. An employee will be entitled to Ordinary Maternity Leave, Additional Maternity Leave and any maternity pay that she qualifies for.
For more information, including details of the procedure to be followed if the baby is born prematurely, refer to the Maternity Leave and Pay section of this toolkit.
Parental bereavement leave and pay
Parental bereavement leave
An employee can take two weeks’ parental bereavement leave following a stillbirth or the death of a child under 18. This is a day one right.
Leave can be taken as one week, two consecutive weeks or two separate weeks.
Leave can be taken at any time from the date of the stillbirth or death up to 56 weeks.
Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay
Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay (SPBP) is £172.48 per week (April 2023 – April 2024) for up to two weeks. SPBP can be paid to employees, agency workers and other workers who meet the qualifying conditions.
To qualify for SPBP a worker must:
• have been continuously employed for at least 26 weeks by the week immediately before the baby’s stillbirth or death, and
• earn at least £123 per week (before tax) (April 2023 – April 2024) in the eight weeks (if paid weekly) or two months (if paid monthly) before the week in which the baby was stillborn or died.
Parental bereavement leave/pay can be taken in addition to maternity, paternity, adoption or shared parental leave/pay.
Some employees/workers may qualify for Parental bereavement leave/pay but not Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Paternity Pay, Statutory Adoption Pay or Statutory Shared Parental Pay.
Notice for parental bereavement leave and pay
An employee must give notice for parental bereavement leave/pay by the start of the week in which they wish to take leave if they want to take leave immediately after the baby’s stillbirth or death or in the first 8 weeks.
If they wish to take parental bereavement leave/pay in weeks 9 to 56 after the baby’s stillbirth or death they must give you notice at least a week before they wish to take leave.
Notice can be given by phone, email or other message, stating the date of the baby’s stillbirth or death, the date they want to start their leave and whether they wish to take one or two weeks’ leave.
An employee does not need to provide proof of the stillbirth or death but must complete a declaration. A template declaration is available here.
• Statutory Maternity Pay (General) Regulations 1986
• Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992
• Employment Rights Act 1996
• Maternity and Parental Leave etc Regulations 1999
• Equality Act 2010
• Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay (General) Regulations 2020
Please note that some of the legislation listed above has been amended since it originally came into force. You must ensure, therefore, that you refer to the most recent version.