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New Zealand Unanimously Votes To Offer Paid Leave For Couples Who Suffer Pregnancy Loss

By Paula Gallagher··  2 min read
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New Zealand Unanimously Votes To Offer Paid Leave For Couples Who Suffer Pregnancy Loss

In a unanimous vote on Wednesday, the New Zealand Parliament voted to expand maternity leave benefits to give couples who suffer a pregnancy loss three days of paid bereavement leave.

The law expands existing legislation to mothers and their partners who experience a miscarriage or a stillbirth, and even to couples whose adoption or surrogacy fails. 

Ginny Andersen, the member of the country's Labour Party who introduced the measure, said, "I felt that it would give women the confidence to be able to request that leave if it was required, as opposed to just being stoic and getting on with life, when they knew that they needed time, physically or psychologically, to get over the grief.”

This bereavement leave is separate from sick leave. Anderson commented, "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."

About 10-20% of pregnancies end in a loss, according to both New Zealand’s Ministry of Health and the Mayo Clinic.

New Zealand is now one of the few countries to offer bereavement leave for pregnancy loss. In the U.K., a mother who suffers a miscarriage after 24 weeks is eligible for time off, and in Australia, a mother is eligible for any miscarriage after 12 weeks. The Philippines offers 60 days of paid leave for miscarriage. 

The U.S. has no such pregnancy loss bereavement policy.

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