Bereavement leave after miscarriage and still-birth but not for abortion

bereavement leave

A bill that enables a change that allows existing bereavement leave to be automatically made available for those families that have been through a miscarriage or a stillbirth had its second reading in parliament on Wednesday 29 July.

The bill will make it clear that the unplanned end of any pregnancy by miscarriage or stillbirth constitutes grounds for leave for the mother and her partner or spouse, and that the duration of the bereavement leave should be up to 3 days.

Currently, the bereavement leave provisions of the Holidays Act 2003 are ambiguous in their application to miscarriage and still-birth.

But the proposed legislation states a person who has had an abortion would not be eligible for bereavement leave.

“It is important that we allow families time to grieve, and I know for a fact that this is a sensitive topic that affects many families in New Zealand,” said the Labour member of parliament Ginny Andersen, the sponsor of this private members bill.

“The committee believed that the intent of this bill is to provide bereavement leave to those who experience a miscarriage or stillbirth, not for abortion,” Anderson said when she presented the bill for its second reading.

Speaking in the debate, National’s Agnes Loheni said there is underlying hypocrisy with creating a law which will undoubtedly lead to women having to lie about their abortion so that they can be considered for bereavement leave.

“It is an intellectual dishonesty by refusing to acknowledge that a woman who has had an abortion has lost a child,” she said.

“They willingly concede that a woman who has had a miscarriage has lost a baby worthy to be grieved over, but if a woman has had an abortion—no regard for that loss. Nothing to see here, folks—move on.”


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News category: New Zealand.

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