New Zealand approves bereavement leave for miscarriages and stillbirth
New Zealand’s Parliament has approved a bill to give mothers and their partners three days of paid bereavement leave after a miscarriage or stillbirth.
Labour MP Ginny Andersen, who presented the bill in Parliament, said it would allow parents to come to terms with their loss without cutting into their sick leave entitlements.
“The grief that comes with miscarriage is not a sickness; it is a loss,” said Andersen. “That loss takes time – time to recover physically and time to recover mentally; time to recover with a partner”.
The bill will be signed into law, and will apply to parents, their partners, and parents planning to have a child through surrogacy or adoption. However, it will not apply to women who end their pregnancy through abortion.
Andersen added that the bill was about “fairness and workers’ rights”, but she also hoped that the new legislation would “promote openness in our society about pregnancy, stillbirth and miscarriage,” reports CNBC.
The bereavement leave is an amendment to New Zealand’s current act on sick leave, and seeks to remove the ambiguity around what constitutes bereavement leave.
Andersen noted that some 20,000 women in the country suffer from a miscarriage each year. Although there were many employers who offered bereavement leave following such an event, there are still some who do not, she added.