Jacinda Ardern continues to lead New Zealand into the history books. Already, the country was looked at with great admiration, following its successful management of the global coronavirus pandemic. Now, women around the world will be celebrating its latest achievement, after a new law will see three days of paid leave granted to those who experience pregnancy loss.
The legislation comes after the Bereavement Leave for Miscarriage Bill received an unanimous vote in parliament, making the reportedly world first decision one that will come into effect in the next few weeks.
New Zealand already offered paid leave in the event of stillbirths, when pregnancy loss happens after 20 weeks. This new development however, will see that extended to pregnancy losses that occur at any point, not simply from 20 weeks. As well as this, the paid leave applies to both the pregnant person and their partner but as has been stipulated, the legislation does not apply to abortions.
Around the world, few countries have adopted such an approach as New Zealand. Here in Australia, those who experience miscarriage after 12 weeks are allowed to take unpaid leave, while in the UK those who suffer a stillbirth after 24 weeks are entitled to paid leave. In the U.S. though, there are no provisions for leave after pregnancy loss. Acknowledging the triumph for New Zealand, Ginny Andersen, the Labour MP behind the bill, said New Zealand “may well be the first country” to introduce such a law.
She added, “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.”
Now, the rest of us can only hope that Australia and other countries around the world follow suit.