New Zealand just passed a breakthrough law offering paid time off for families who experience pregnancy loss.
On Wednesday, March 25, New Zealand lawmakers unanimously voted to pass a motion that mothers and their partners can receive three days of paid leave after suffering a miscarriage or stillbirth, according to The New York Times.
This law, which is an extension of the country’s existing legislation regarding bereavement leave, will also apply to parents expecting a child via adoption or surrogacy, per The New Zealand Herald.
Ginny Andersen, a member of the Labour Party, introduced the measure. “I can only hope that while we may be one of the first, we will not be one of the last, and that other countries will also begin to legislate for a compassionate and fair leave system that recognizes the pain and the grief that comes from miscarriage and stillbirth,” she said during the final reading of the bill. (CNN reports that India currently allows women six weeks of leave after a miscarriage.)
Following the ruling, Andersen tweeted that she’s “proud to have made a change for good.”
She told The New York Times, “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.”
While the Mayo Clinic estimates that roughly 2 out of 10 pregnancies end in pregnancy loss in the United States, no such laws are in place to provide paid bereavement leave to mothers or their partners. This should come as no surprise, as the U.S. does not even guarantee paid maternity leave on a federal level—instead, such legislation is left up to individual states. (The only states that currently provide paid maternity leave are California, Georgia, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.)
We clearly have a lot of catching up to do.