New Zealand approves paid leave after miscarriage or stillbirth

Parents will be given three days' leave to give them 'time to come to terms with their loss'

The bereavement allowance passed unanimously in parliament late on Wednesday. Getty
The bereavement allowance passed unanimously in parliament late on Wednesday. Getty

New Zealand's parliament passed legislation on Thursday to give parents the right to paid leave after a miscarriage or stillbirth, becoming only the second country to do so.

The bereavement allowance, passed unanimously in parliament late on Wednesday, gives employees three days' leave when a pregnancy ends with a stillbirth without having to use sick leave.

"The passing of this bill shows that, once again, New Zealand is leading the way for progressive and compassionate legislation, becoming only the second country in the world to provide leave for miscarriage and stillbirth,” said Labour Party MP Ginny Andersen, who initiated the bill.

"The bill will give women and their partners time to come to terms with their loss without having to tap into sick leave. Because their grief is not a sickness, it is a loss. And loss takes time."

The leave provisions apply to mothers and their partners, as well as those planning to adopt a child or use a surrogacy, she said.

One in four New Zealand women have had a miscarriage, Ms Andersen said in her statement.

India is the only other country with similar legislation.

New Zealand was the first country in the world to give voting rights to women.

The ruling centre-left Labour government is led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who is seen as a global champion for women. Her government last year passed a historic law to decriminalise abortion.

Updated: March 25, 2021 06:21 PM

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