The parliament of New Zealand has voted unanimously to pass a law that entitles a paid bereavement leave to mothers and their partners after a miscarriage or stillbirth.
The legislation provides three days of bereavement leave.
MP Ginny Andersen, who put forward the bill, said it would allow mothers and their partners to “come to terms with their loss” without taking sick leave.
“The grief that comes with miscarriage is not a sickness; it is a loss,” she said. “That loss takes time – time to recover physically and time to recover mentally; time to recover with a partner”.
Anderson said one in four women in New Zealand have had a miscarriage and she hoped the new provision would give them “time to come to terms with their loss without having to tap into sick leave”.
The legislation also applies to parents, their partners, and parents planning to have a child through adoption or surrogacy.
“I can only hope that while we may be one of the first, we will not be one of the last, and that other countries will also begin to legislate for a compassionate and fair leave system that recognizes the pain and the grief that comes from miscarriage and stillbirth,” she said in parliament during the final reading of the bill.
Reportedly, India is the only nation in the world that provides a paid leave of six weeks to mothers after a miscarriage.
Isn’t this a remarkable step by the island nation? We hope that other countries follow the precedent set up by India and New Zealand.