25th Mar 2021
These days, it’s fair to say, ‘is there anything New Zealand doesn’t get right?’ from their handling of the pandemic, and now, a new law following a unanimous vote in parliament in what is believed to be one of the first provisions of its type in the world.
The devastation experienced with the loss of pregnancy can’t be put into words and the New Zealand government believe this should be met with as much compassion as possible, now in the form of a bereavement allowance, granted automatically to working couples should this occur.
The bereavement allowance gives employees three days’ leave when a pregnancy ends with stillbirth as opposed to forcing couples to use their sick leave. The bill will also apply to those who were attempting to have a child through surrogacy or adoption.
MP Ginny Andersen, who put forward the bill, said the introduction of this bill will allow mothers and their partners to “come to terms with their loss” without taking sick leave. The bill, which was unanimously passed will provide three days of bereavement leave.
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. pic.twitter.com/dwUWINVjLm
— Ginny Andersen (@ginnyandersen) March 24, 2021
New Zealand is reportedly only the second country in the world to introduce the measure, after India.
Ginny Anderson said she hopes that the new legislation will allow couples “time to come to terms with their loss without having to tap into sick leave”.
“The grief that comes with miscarriage is not a sickness; it is a loss, and that loss takes time — time to recover physically and time to recover mentally,” she told parliament.
“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 recognises the pain and the grief that comes from miscarriage and stillbirth,” she said.