Employees in the country will be entitled to three days’ leave after a miscarriage under the law, which is set to gain royal assent after passing its final stage in parliament.
Ginny Andersen, the Labour MP who introduced the bill, said it would make New Zealand only the second country to provide such a benefit to her knowledge. India allows women six weeks of leave after a miscarriage.
“I can only hope that while we may be one of the first, we will not be one of the last, and that other countries will also begin to legislate for a compassionate and fair leave system that recognizes the pain and the grief that comes from miscarriage and stillbirth,” she said in parliament during the final reading of the bill.
During the bill’s reading on Wednesday evening, Andersen acknowledged that many employers already provide leave for employees who have suffered a miscarriage. But she said “there are some who are making employees use up their sick leave at a time when they are dealing with extreme loss, and that is callous and that is wrong.”
The bill passed without any dissent, and lawmakers who spoke in its final debate unanimously praised the contents of the legislation.
“Occasionally and not often enough, in my view, we come together as parliamentarians in a unified, dignified, respectful way to do the right thing,” Scott Simpson, a member of the opposition, center-right National Party, said during the debate. “This is an example of such an occasion.”