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New Zealand passes bill granting paid leave after miscarriage, stillbirth

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Zealand

Couples in New Zealand who have a miscarriage or stillbirth will be eligible for paid bereavement leave under a new law approved by parliament.

MP Ginny Andersen, who put forward the bill, said it would allow mothers and their partners to “come to terms with their loss” without taking sick leave.

The bill also applies to those having a child through adoption or surrogacy.

New Zealand is reportedly only the second country in the world to introduce the measure, after India.

The legislation, which was unanimously passed in parliament, provides three days of bereavement leave.

Ms Anderson said one in four women in New Zealand have had a miscarriage and she hoped the new provision would give them “time to come to terms with their loss without having to tap into sick leave”.

“Their grief is not a sickness, it is a loss. And loss takes time,” she said, adding that New Zealand was “leading the way for progressive and compassionate legislation”.

A year ago, parliament passed a reform bill that decriminalised abortion and allowed women to choose a termination up to 20 weeks into a pregnancy.

The bill does not apply to women who end a pregnancy through abortion. National MP Erica Stanford said that while she supported the bill, “the grief and anguish and trauma experienced during an abortion and the fact that it’s not included in this bill makes me personally uncomfortable”.

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