Parliament has today unanimously passed legislation giving mothers and their partners three days of bereavement leave following a miscarriage or stillbirth.
Hutt South MP Ginny Andersen’s Member’s Bill, The Holidays (Bereavement Leave for Miscarriage) Amendment Bill (No 2), provides for three days bereavement leave following the end of a pregnancy as a result of miscarriage or stillbirth.
According to a statement from the Labour MP's office, the leave provisions would apply to mothers and their partners, as well as parents planning to have a child through adoption or surrogacy.
"The passing of this bill shows that once again New Zealand is leading the way for progressive and compassionate legislation, becoming only the second country in the world to provide leave for miscarriage and stillbirth,” Andersen said.
"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 added praise for colleagues who helped her pass the bill.
"I’d like to acknowledge my parliamentary colleagues from across the House for their unanimous support for my bill. It is always heartening when consensus can be achieved for causes that matter.
"I’d also like to acknowledge Kathryn van Beek, whose staunch advocacy laid the foundations for this bill. And Clare Curran for encouraging Kathryn to garner support, working closely alongside her during the initial stages of this bill.
"Most importantly, I’d like to acknowledge the one in four New Zealand women who have had a miscarriage. I hope this bill will go some way in recognising the need for time and space to deal with the unimaginable grief that comes with losing a pregnancy," Andersen said.