Sands is delighted to launch the charity’s new consultancy service Work and baby loss: essential services for employers this week.

The consultancy services include a new half-day training workshop for employers that will help companies to ensure that bereaved parents are properly supported in the workplace.

Employers are in a position to make a real difference to the lives of bereaved parents, yet this is not always the case. A survey of parents conducted by Sands in 2018 found that:

50% did not feel supported by their employer following a bereavement.

Almost half (49%) of employers did not discuss entitlements to pay and leave with people following the death of their baby.

Four in ten people were not offered any additional time away from work.

Four in ten did not feel their employers’ communication was sensitive and appropriate.

43% reported that no one talked to them about the death of their baby after returning to work.

There are many things that employers can do to support staff who have experienced a bereavement.

Central to this is an awareness amongst management about the impact of pregnancy loss and the death of a baby, and having policies and procedures in place to support staff returning to work.

Sands can provide a tailored service to meet your organisation’s needs including:

Specialist training in the death of a baby and the workplace for human resources staff and senior management.

Information and advice around supporting staff in returning to work.

Development of appropriate policies to support bereaved staff who experience the death of a baby.

Information around legal entitlements to pay and leave following the death of a baby, and other sources of support.

Practical advice on how to support other employees affected by their colleague’s baby loss.

Advice on the potential cost to employers if they don’t support employees – e.g. more days lost to sickness and reduced hours.

Sands was pleased to be able pilot its Training for Employers workshops with Lendlease and their mental health first aiders network.

Lendlease, a leading international property and infrastructure group with operations in Australia, Asia, Europe and the Americas, started their mental health programme five years ago and have a strong commitment to supporting the wellbeing of employees in their workplace.

The sessions enabled participants to develop the knowledge and skills needed to feel confident in communicating sensitively with staff whose baby has died, and to develop an understanding of current employment rights.

Paul Hay, Environment, Health and Safety Training Manager at Lendlease Europe, said: “It’s incredibly important for us as a company to support the wellbeing and mental health of all our employees.

“Ensuring we have the right support in place for anyone who has been affected by baby loss is a crucial part of our mental health programme and so it was imperative that we took part in these informative and expertly delivered training workshops from Sands.”

Emma Cann, Framework Lead at Lendlease, said: “Returning to work after the loss of a baby is isolating and overwhelming. By training staff to understand how they can support colleagues after such a devastating loss will help make that step a little less daunting.” 

The new consultancy services are an important new area of work for Sands, allowing us to work with organisations to ensure that bereaved parents receive the right support in the workplace.

A bereaved parent said: “It was difficult for me to return to work after my son was stillborn. On my first day back one of my senior colleagues met me outside so I had someone to walk into the building with, this made it a bit easier to do.  

“Many people think that mentioning your baby will make you sad but actually I really appreciate it when people at work talk about her.”

It is estimated that around 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage, and 15 babies die before, during or soon after birth every day in the UK.

For further information on how Sands could help to support your organisation visit the consultancy services page or email: consultancy@sands.org.uk