Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

New Zealand’s parliament just voted to give mothers and their partners three days of bereavement leave after a miscarriage or stillbirth in a landmark decision.

The bill was presented by Labour MP Ginny Andersen, who said it would allow parents to come to terms with their loss without being forced to use up their sick leave entitlements.

“The grief that comes with miscarriage is not a sickness; it is a loss,” she said. “That loss takes time — time to recover physically and time to recover mentally; time to recover with a partner.”

The legislation applies to parents, their partners, and parents planning to have a child through adoption or surrogacy. It doesn't apply to women who end pregnancies through abortions.

New Zealand isn't the first country to enact legislation like this, nor does it give the most time to grieving mothers.

Pakistan's law does not stipulate whether a woman is allowed leave after a miscarriage or stillbirth but Sindh allows for one week of paid leave in case of a miscarriage and four weeks for stillbirths. It also allows 16 weeks of paid leave in case of a premature delivery. However, Sindh's law is only applicable to mothers, not their partners.

The Senate recently passed a bill that makes it mandatory for employers to give employees paid maternity and paternity leave.

Indian law allows women six weeks of leave if they miscarry while the Canadian province of Ontario gives a woman 17 weeks of unpaid leave if she loses a baby 17 weeks or less than her due date.