Style Living Self Celebrity Geeky News and Views
In the Paper BrandedUp Hello! Create with us Privacy Policy

New Zealand passes bill on bereavement leave for miscarriages

By Tanya Lara Published Mar 25, 2021 3:49 pm Updated Mar 25, 2021 3:56 pm

New Zealand’s Parliament unanimously passed on March 24 a bill granting three bereavement days at full pay to mothers and their partners after a miscarriage or stillbirth.

The leave also applies to parents planning to have a child through adoption or surrogacy. This means they will no longer have take days from their sick or vacation leave credits to take time off and grieve for their loss.

Existing laws in New Zealand already grant employees paid bereavement leave for a minimum of three days per death if a spouse or partner, parent, child, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, or spouse or partner’s parent dies.

Labor politician Ginny Andersen, who proposed the miscarriage leave bill, said in a statement that New Zealand is “leading the way for progressive and compassionate legislation. 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.”

Andersen said on Twitter the legislation is about “workers’ rights and fairness. I hope it gives people time to grieve and promotes greater openness about miscarriage. We should not be fearful of our bodies.”

New Zealand’s Ministry of Health defines the loss as miscarriage when it occurs before 20 weeks’ gestation. According to the ministry, miscarriage is “fairly common—one or two out of every 10 women miscarry.”

The UK’s NHS website puts the number even higher: one in eight pregancies. “Many more miscarriages happen before a woman is even aware she has become pregnant. Losing three or more pregnancies in a row (recurrent miscarriages) is uncommon and only affects around 1 in 100 women.”

Andersen 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.”

The emotional toll of a miscarriage

The loss of a baby can be devastating to both parents. For mothers, it is an even more emotional as she comes home from the hospital without a baby in her arms.

The new law recognizes the need for time and space to deal with a miscarriage.

According to, The grief you're feeling is real — and no matter how early in pregnancy you experienced the loss of a baby, you may feel that loss deeply. Some well-intentioned friends and family may try to minimize the significance of a loss with a ‘Don’t worry, you can try again,’ not realizing that the loss of a baby, no matter when it occurs during a pregnancy, can be devastating.

“And the fact that there is no possibility of holding the baby, taking a photo or having a funeral and burial—rituals of grieving that can all help offer some closure for parents of stillborn infants—may complicate the recovery process.”

The website says that to start healing, turn to your partner for support. If you’re religious, ask your spiritual leader for guidance. Sharing your feelings with those who have undergone similar loss can help.

“Through a support group, with a friend or online—sharing with others who experienced a miscarriage can also be a comfort. Ask your practitioner to recommend a therapist or bereavement group to help you through this difficult period.

It adds that if “you don’t feel like sharing your feelings—or don’t feel you need to—don’t. Do only what’s right for you.”

Andersen said, “I hope this bill will go some way in recognizing the need for time and space to deal with the unimaginable grief that comes with losing a pregnancy.”