As the new guidelines dictate, any employees - both full-time, part-time, permanent or temporary workers - will be entitled to five days paid leave in the case “where an employee or their spouse’s pregnancy ceases by way of miscarriage up to 20 weeks gestation.”
Leave for parents who suffer premature births was also announced as Minister for Women, Bronnie Taylor, said in a statement via 7News: “A new arrival is always a cause for celebration but sometimes an early entry can have unexpected consequences. This leave for mothers who give birth to a pre-term baby, and their parents, will be available from the date of the early birth up to when the birth normally would have been expected.”
The proposed changes will come into effect on July 2, 2021. According to treasurer Dominic Perrottet, the significance of such a milestone can’t be underestimated. “We know that losing a child even in the early stages of pregnancy can be devastating,’ the treasurer told SBS News. “We want NSW government employees to know the government has their back when tragedies like these occur, and that they will have time to process their loss without having to worry about financial or work-related pressures.”
The announcement comes after New Zealand recently introduced legislation that offered paid leave in the event of stillbirths at any point during the pregnancy, not simply from 20 weeks. The paid leave also applies to both the pregnant person and their partner. As Ginny Andersen, the Labour MP behind the bill, said in a statement, “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.”
We can only hope that NSW is the first of many states to adopt the policy and that miscarriage and stillbirth are no longer pushed to the margins, but that they are discussed openly.