Pregnancy loss and termination - checklist for reps

This document is about the importance of supporting teachers and support staff who have experienced pregnancy loss or termination, and provides a checklist for representatives on how to provide support in the workplace.


Supporting women at work

❱ Ask your employer to follow the NEU pregnancy risk assessment1 whenever a member of staff discloses that she is pregnant.

❱ Read the NEU resource pack - Pregnancy loss and termination / abortion - and discuss it with your union colleagues, including your health and safety rep if you have one. If a member discloses to you that she is losing or has lost her baby, ask her what support she needs, share links to the NEU Pregnancy loss and termination /abortion resources at and encourage her to keep in touch with you.

❱ Keep her information confidential unless she asks for her news to be shared more widely.

❱ Look after yourself. Should you require immediate, confidential support including counselling or coaching related to supporting a member who has experienced a baby loss, you can contact the Education Partnership helpline on 08000 562 561 or at

❱ Familiarise yourself with our advice and resources designed to support members who are experiencing baby loss. If you do not feel confident, seek support from your colleagues and take a look at some of the resources available online. The charity Tommy’s, for example, gives some excellent advice on how to support a work colleague after a stillbirth2.

❱ Be aware that many Black and Asian women will not be receiving appropriate individualised or culturally sensitive maternity or baby loss care outside of work. This can impact on their physical and mental health at work. Seek further advice if a member is not receiving the support that she needs at work.

❱ Support women members experiencing pregnancy loss in securing:

  • appropriate time off
  • privacy
  • safe and fair working arrangements
  • compassionate return to work arrangements

❱ Support women in requesting suitable appraisal objectives or adjustments to existing objectives to take account of pregnancy- related absences and proposed maternity or parental bereavement leave so that the objectives are achievable in the time available.

❱ Work together as a school or college group to ensure that women members are not disadvantaged in pay progression or career opportunities or in any redundancy selections on grounds of pregnancy, pregnancy loss or related leave.

❱ Ask your head to confirm that all pregnancy- related absences are recorded separately from other sickness absence records and that the absences will not count towards any absence-monitoring or redundancy-selection scores.

❱ Liaise with your branch office if a member needs help lodging a grievance about her treatment at work.

❱ Check with women members going on maternity or parental bereavement leave whether and how they would like to keep in touch about union matters, particularly in relation to any reorganisations or timetable changes, and include them in your NEU communications as appropriate. Remind them that NEU membership fees don’t have to be paid during maternity leave; they can tell NEU membership [email protected] their maternity dates so that NEU subscriptions can be suspended during their absence.

❱ Make your NEU meetings accessible, consider hybrid meetings to allow women who have experienced pregnancy loss to join from home; for face-to-face meetings, make sure that the venue is suitable and that there is there is a suitable private, clean space for women to rest.

Adopting the NEU model policy

❱ Check what support your school/college has in place to support members who have experienced the loss of a baby before 24 weeks’ gestation, a termination, a stillbirth or neonatal death and what needs to be improved

❱ Be aware that some members might find the topic distressing; members will have a range of experiences and some may have been affected by pregnancy loss without having shared the experience with colleagues.

❱ Try to gather a group of members who are willing and able to talk compassionately about the topics from direct or indirect experience.

❱ Call a union meeting and include the NEU model policy on the agenda.

❱ Share the policy in advance and arrange for someone to summarise it in the meeting

❱ Involve members in the development of the policy.

❱ Discuss at an NEU meeting what support is available at work and how this compares to the NEU model policy

❱ Ask members to vote on taking it forward to the SLT

❱ Talk to workplace reps from other unions (if applicable) and ask them to support the negotiation

❱ Read our checklist for leaders – and give a copy to your head or principal

❱ Arrange a meeting with your SLT, share the model policy and ask them to be prepared to discuss its implementation. Use our sample letter to heads

❱ Before you go in, make a plan. Most of our demands are ensuring existing rights are respected in your workplace. How will the SLT respond and how will you deal with that?

❱ If the SLT agree to implement the policy, agree a date on which it will be reviewed.

❱ If the SLT will not agree, take this back to your members. Gauge how widely felt and deeply felt this issue is and contact your branch3 for advice and support if you need it.

❱ You can refer to the NEU Call to action on pregnancy loss and termination / abortion that sets out the experiences of NEU teachers and support staff and the recommendations that we are making to government and employers.

❱ Keep pushing for implementation through a workplace campaign. Maintain a dialogue with your employer and the union group. Find out what the barriers are and how you will get past them – this could be a petition or some other form of collective solidarity.

❱ Include your membership group at every stage of the process; keep them informed of the negotiations and encourage their input to approve changes so that everyone is fairly represented

❱ Remind the employer of the NEU checklist for leaders and monitor with members how they apply the agreed policy.

❱ Share your success – inform your branch that the agreement has been reached and please send a copy of the agreed policy to [email protected]

Pregnancy loss and termination

An introduction to our resources for members, reps and leaders on pregnancy loss and termination.

Learn more
Back to top