New Zealand’s Parliament has unanimously approved three days of paid leave to couples who have suffered a miscarriage, in what is believed to be the first law of its kind.
The law is an extension to previous legislation that required employers to provide paid leave in the event of a stillbirth, defined as the death of a foetus after 20 weeks or more.
The new measure, which is expected to become law in the coming weeks, expands the leave to anyone who loses a pregnancy at any point.
The law does not apply to abortions.
Ginny Andersen, the Labour member of Parliament who drafted the bill, told The New York Times that she “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.”
Ms Andersen said that she had not been able to find comparable legislation anywhere in the world.
Although up to 20 per cent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, it remains a painful topic, and one for which parents find it particularly hard to find support.
Vicki Culling, an educator about baby loss who has pushed for better support for bereaved parents in New Zealand, told The New York Times: “If you ring the hospital saying, ‘I think I’m miscarrying my baby,’ so many women will say, ‘I felt like I was the first person in the world to be miscarrying.”
“The foundations of your world just crumble, because you expect to have this beautiful baby, and when that baby dies, whether it’s in utero or soon after birth, everything is shattered.”
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