Photo by Jiroe on Unsplash

New Zealand creates paid miscarriage leave of three days

New Zealand's Parliament has unanimously passed legislation giving women and their partners three days paid leave following the end of a pregnancy due to a miscarriage or stillbirth. Although not the first such law (India provides for 6 weeks of paid leave in similar circumstances), it reflects an increasing openness around the topic and an intent on the part of legislators to address this difficult situation where employers won't.

The MP responsible for the law, Ginny Andersen, said on Twitter, "Final reading of my Bereavement Leave for Miscarriage Bill. This is a Bill about workers’ rights and fairness. I hope it gives people time to grieve and promotes greater openness about miscarriage. We should not be fearful of our bodies."

Though campaigners are happy, there are suggestions that this is the first step in a reform of how workplaces treat grief itself. It recognises that grief and loss can have an impact on the health of workers and that time away from the office can be part of the healing process.

A survey on public perception of miscarriage found that:

- 41% of respondents felt they had done something wrong;
- 41% of respondents felt alone; and
- 28% of respondents felt ashamed

Disclosures of miscarriages by public figures assuaged feelings of isolation for 28% of respondents. Level of education and gender had a significant effect on perceptions and understanding of miscarriage. Respondents to the survey erroneously believed that miscarriage is a rare complication of pregnancy, with the majority believing that it occurred in 5% or less of all pregnancies when in fact it occurs in 15-20% of pregnancies.

Passing laws such as that passed in New Zealand not only afford affected employees with needed time away from the office but also do more to raise the general level of awareness and knowledge of issues relating to miscarriages.
Posted by Robin on 27 Mar, 2021 in Employee Leave