New zealand introduces paid leave for miscarriage and stillbirth.


The Show Time


An initiative that was called for by many countries



The new law, which had been in development for several years, comes amid a broader global reckoning over women at work. Women have long struggled to balance the requirements of their employers with issues like pregnancy, sometimes leading them to miss advancement and other opportunities.


New Zealand’s Parliament on Wednesday unanimously approved legislation that would give couples who suffer a miscarriage or stillbirth three days of paid leave, putting the country in the vanguard of those providing benefits. In New Zealand, as in some other countries, had already been required to provide paid leave in the event of a stillbirth, when a fetus is lost after 20 weeks or more. The new legislation will expand that leave to anyone who loses a pregnancy at any point, removing any ambiguity. The measure is expected to become law in the coming weeks.


“I felt that it would give women the confidence to be able to request that leave if it was required, as opposed to just being stoic and getting on with life, when they knew that they needed time, physically or psychologically, to get over the grief,” Ginny Andersen, the Labour member of Parliament who drafted the bill.


Andersen added that she had not been able to find comparable legislation anywhere in the world. “We may well be the first country,” she said, adding, “But all the countries that New Zealand is usually compared to legislate for the 20-week mark.”


The new law does not apply to abortions, Andersen added. New Zealand decriminalized abortion last year, ending the country’s status as one of the few wealthy nations to limit the grounds for ending a pregnancy in the first half.


The new law, which had been in development for several years, comes amid a broader global reckoning over women at work. Women have long struggled to balance the requirements of their employers with issues like pregnancy, sometimes leading them to miss advancement and other opportunities.


In Australia, people who miscarry are entitled to unpaid leave if they lose a fetus after 12 weeks, while in Britain, would-be parents who experience a stillbirth after 24 weeks are eligible for paid leave. The United States does not require employers to provide leave for anyone who suffers a miscarriage.

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