New Zealand’s parliament has unanimously passed a groundbreaking bill legislating three bereavement days at full pay for women and their partners after a pregnancy loss.
The leave includes parents planning to have a child through adoption or surrogacy.
“I hope it gives people time to grieve and promotes greater openness about miscarriage. We should not be fearful of our bodies.”
Politician Ginny Andersen, who proposed the bill, praised New Zealand on Wednesday for “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 told local network TVNZ in a statement.
In her statement, Anderson noted that one in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage.
“I hope this bill will go some way in recognizing the need for time and space to deal with the imaginable grief that comes with losing a pregnancy,” she said.
Julia Bueno, a London-based psychotherapist who specializes in pregnancy loss, is celebrating the Bereavement Leave for Miscarriage Bill. Bueno hopes other countries will follow suit.
"This is a both a real and symbolic recognition that miscarriage can be a grave bereavement for a woman and her partner,” the “Brink of Being” author told TODAY Parents. I hope other legislatures take note and build on this long overdue response to an otherwise disenfranchised experience.”
On Twitter, Andersen described the bill as being “about workers’ rights and fairness.”
“I hope it gives people time to grieve and promotes greater openness about miscarriage,” Andersen wrote. “We should not be fearful of our bodies.”
“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,” Andersen told the publication. “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.”
New Zealand is the second country to offer miscarriage leave. In India, a woman is entitled to six weeks of paid maternity after a miscarriage or medical termination, according to the maternity benefit act.
Reddit, one of the few U.S. employers with paid miscarriage leave, offers eight and a half weeks of fully paid leave for anyone who goes through a pregnancy loss — father or mother.
Many U.S. women feel pressured to go right back to work after a pregnancy loss.
“Not everybody works for Reddit," said Dina Bakst, co-founder of A Better Balance, an NYC-based nonprofit organization that advocates for legal protection for women and families. “We hear from women, low-wage women in particular, who are often a complicated pregnancy away from losing their job.”