The New Zealand Parliament unanimously approved legislation that will give couples who suffer a miscarriage or stillbirth three days of paid leave. This puts New Zealand in the forefront of countries who offer benefits like this.
The country had already required employers to provide paid leave in the event of a stillbirth, when a fetus is lost after 20 weeks or more. The law will extend benefits to anyone who loses a pregnancy at any point, and should go into effect in the coming weeks.
The new law has been in development for years and hopes to address issues with women in the workplace feeling confident about asking for leave if they need it. It also also provides a benefit that otherwise might leave employees with missed advancement and other opportunities.
A miscarriage or stillbirth is a painful topic that is difficult to talk about publicly or seek support for, health advocates say. This means that some may not even ask for leave when they need the time to deal with the grief of loss.
The new law is a great first step among many that need to be made to protect employees’ mental health and create an equitable workplace.