New Zealand passes bill allowing paid leave after miscarriage and stillbirths

New Zealand’s government has passed a bill allowing three days of paid leave after experiencing miscarriages and stillbirths. 

In incredible news, New Zealand is the second-ever country to grant paid leave to couples who have experienced miscarriage and stillbirth.

New Zealand’s parliament came to a unanimous decision to pass the legislation this week. Instead of forcing sick leave, working mothers and their partners will be given three days of paid leave by their employers – which is believed to be one of the first provisions of its type in the world.

Ginny Andersen
Image: The New York Times

This landmark move is also valid to those who are in the process of surrogacy or adoption. The legislation, however, does not apply to abortions. Those in favour of the bill hope the new legislation will allow grieving couples time to process loss, and help shift the discussion around miscarriages, which is still considered a taboo topic by some.

It is estimated that one in four pregnant people will experience a miscarriage, which can be both physically and emotionally traumatic. Although three days is not a long time in the grand scheme of things, this is a huge step forward and is undoubtedly better than nothing.

Needless to say, the simple step of businesses not forcing their employees to use up their sick leave is something that all governments should be looking towards.

Government MP, Ginny Andersen, is the incredible woman responsible for introducing the bill. She believes that stillbirth should be recognised, but unfortunately, many people are still reluctant to discuss the issue due to the stigma attached to it.

“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.

New Zealand is pioneering the way for woman’s rights after the New Zealand government, led by Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, also passed laws to decriminalise abortion last year. Let alone the fact that NZ was the first country in the world to give voting rights to women.

Gaining a global reputation for their progressive politics, moving to New Zealand sounds like a pretty good idea right now, considering the amount of fire the Australian government is under at the moment.

Although there is a long way to go for woman’s rights, the new legislation is a huge step forward and allows a massive weight to be lifted off of parents experiencing loss. Hopefully, New Zealand’s neighbours are close to follow – wink wink.