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More companies are offering pregnancy loss leave

May 11, 2021, 1:06 PM UTC

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Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Vice Media considers a SPAC merger, Serena Williams weighs participating in the Tokyo Olympics, and two companies introduce pregnancy loss leave. Have a lovely Tuesday.

– Pregnancy loss leave. In March, The Broadsheet covered New Zealand’s new policy that granted women and their partners three bereavement days at full pay after a miscarriage. Less than two months later, private companies are starting to offer their own versions of leave for pregnancy loss.

U.K. broadcaster Channel 4 unveiled its new policy in April and digital bank Monzo, also based in the U.K., announced its benefit on Monday.

The U.K. offers generous paid parental leave, and parents can use that time if they lose their baby after 24 weeks. But there’s no policy for pregnancies lost before then.

Both corporate policies are more comprehensive than the three-day benefit New Zealand rolled out. Channel 4 is offering two weeks leave, fully paid, for pregnancy loss, “which includes but is not limited to miscarriage, stillbirth, and abortion,” the company says. Monzo’s paid leave is also two weeks, and applicable in instances of miscarriage or abortion. And both companies are offering the leave to male and female employees, regardless of whether the pregnancy loss happens to the employee directly, their partner, or a surrogate.

Pregnancy loss “doesn’t just affect women or heterosexual partners,” Monzo said in a statement.

Several years ago, Silicon Valley firms and professional services giants engaged in a parental benefits arms race to better compete for in-demand, highly-skilled talent. Some of those benefits—like egg freezing, breast milk shipping, and those flying nannies—were no doubt generous and aimed at retaining female employees, but they also seemed to carry an implicit message: whatever you do, don’t stop working.

These latest policies, at least on the surface, seem to prioritize employees’ wellbeing, a shift that reflects the current climate of worker burnout and collective grief. In announcing its policy, Monzo said it “takes the mental health of its staff incredibly seriously.” Channel 4 CEO Alex Mahon said the broadcaster’s new benefit acknowledges the “lasting emotional and physical impact” of pregnancy loss. “We hope that by giving away this pioneering policy we’re able to encourage other organizations to do the same,” she said.

Claire Zillman

The Broadsheet, Fortune’s newsletter for and about the world’s most powerful women, is coauthored by Kristen Bellstrom, Emma Hinchliffe, and Claire Zillman. Today’s edition was curated by Emma Hinchliffe


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- Listen to Michelle. In an appearance on CBS This Morning with Gayle King yesterday, Michelle Obama talked about racial justice and urged the public to get vaccinated against COVID-19. "You wanna hang out with us?" the former first lady said of her own family's rules. "Get your vaccine." CBS News

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- Contraception in China. While China is urging much of the country to have more children as birth rates slow, in Muslim regions, the government is reportedly forcing women to have fewer children—requiring invasive procedures like inserting IUDs and threatening detention if women don't comply. New York Times


Maya Angelou, Sally Ride are first historical figures chosen for American Women Quarters program ABC News

Attorneys General ask Facebook to scrap Instagram Youth app, citing harm in kids’ well-being and privacy Fortune

A maddening grief: My year of miscarriages and how I got through it Guardian


"There’s so many more interesting stories to tell, so many more necessary stories than to keep even talking to me; I’m not the only survivor." 

-#MeToo founder Tarana Burke on how the press should cover the movement against sexual violence

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