New Zealand grants automatic paid leave after miscarriage

WELLINGTON (AFP) – Working mothers and their partners will be allowed to take paid leave after suffering a miscarriage or stillbirth in New Zealand after a unanimous vote by lawmakers, in what is believed to be one of the first provisions of its type in the world.

The bereavement allowance, passed by Parliament late on Wednesday, gives employees three days’ leave when a pregnancy ends with a stillbirth, rather than forcing them to use their sick leave.

Lawmaker Ginny Andersen said a stillbirth should be recognised with dedicated bereavement leave but the stigma that surrounds the issue meant many people were reluctant to discuss 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.

Andersen said the leave extends to a woman’s partner if she suffers a miscarriage, as well as to people who were attempting to have a child through surrogacy.