Labour President Ramona Attard has endorsed New Zealand’s historic law to give couples who suffer a miscarriage or stillbirth three days of paid leave, a move that is believed to be a world first.
“In my opinion, this proposal makes a lot of sense. Everyone that has passed through a miscarriage knows it’s a difficult process to accept what was lost,” Attard wrote on social media.
This new legislation expands on an already existing law the requires employers in New Zealand to provide leave in the event of stillbirth when a fetus is lost after 20 weeks of gestation. Now, anyone who loses a pregnancy at any point will be entitled to time off.
Ginny Andersen, the Labour MP who drafted the bill, said she hopes it would give women the confidence to be able to ask for leave if they need it.
“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,” she said.
However, the law does not apply to those who terminate a pregnancy. New Zealand decriminalised abortion last year, allowing unrestricted access to terminate at any point in the first half of pregnancy.
Malta remains one of six states to have a full ban on the practice.
In neighbouring Australia, couples who lose a foetus after 12 weeks are entitled to unpaid leave. Couples in the UK can be entitled to paid leave for still-birth if it happens after 24 weeks. No such legislation exists in the U.S.
What do you make of New Zealand’s new law?