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Girls & Women

New Zealand May Soon Offer Miscarriage Leave to Grieving Parents

Why Global Citizens Should Care
Women and girls are treated differently and held back in every aspect of life — in school, by governments, by health systems. Speaking more openly about miscarriage and providing bereavement support to parents is a step toward gender equality in the workplace. You can take action on the issue of gender equality here.

New Zealand continues to push for progressive, “people-centered” policy with a new bill being reviewed that would provide miscarriage leave for bereaved parents.

Women and their partners may soon be entitled to three days of paid bereavement leave after experiencing a miscarriage or stillbirth, reported the Guardian.

Take Action: #LeveltheLaw and help empower women and girls in the Asia-Pacific region

“A miscarriage is a terrible time for parents, and this bill provides certainty for parents and employers around the definition of a miscarriage so that parents can grieve and spend time to work through the personal toll of a miscarriage,” said Iain Lees-Galloways, the minister for workplace relations and safety, in an interview with the Guardian.

Currently, New Zealanders are entitled to bereavement leave after the loss of a family member, but that doesn’t include the loss of a child who is not born alive, noted the report.

With an estimated one or two out of every 10 pregnant women in New Zealand experiencing a miscarriage, according to the ministry of health, the government agency believes amending this law is long overdue.

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“A lot of women have had more than one miscarriage and it can be very traumatic and difficult if you are trying to hold down a job,” Labour MP Ginny Andersen, who sponsored the bill, told the Guardian. “The lack of clarity has meant some women have been in the position of having to argue with their employer about whether they are entitled to leave because they have lost their unborn child.”

A petition supporting the bill, which received more than 3,000 signatures, stated that it would make “it clear that the unplanned death of a fetus constitutes grounds for bereavement leave for the mother and her partner or spouse,” reported the Evening Standard.

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The bill states that anyone with a “confirmed pregnancy” would be eligible for leave, according to the report. Specifics on the preferred method of pregnancy confirmation are yet to be determined.

New Zealand is not the first country to introduce legislation for miscarriage leave. Indian law technically stipulates women are entitled to six weeks’ leave if they miscarry a baby, according to AdvocateKhoj.