A worthwhile bill

Stuff reports:

A new members’ bill would allow employees to take up to three days bereavement leave after losing a pregnancy in a .

The bill, in the name of Labour MP Ginny Andersen, would make miscarriage an explicit grounds for three days of bereavement leave.

Currently the law is somewhat ambiguous on the issue, with employers being able to decide whether or not a miscarriage constitutes bereavement.

The law gives a right for bereavment leave if the deceased is a partner, parent, child, sibling, grandparent, grandchild or parent in law. For other bereavements it is up to the employer but a key factor is the closeness of association.

So adding on a miscarriage suffered by you or your partner seems very sensible. And before this becomes an abortion debate, can I point out the huge difference between choosing to end a pregnancy and wanting it to continue but having a miscarriage.

The law was drafted after a group of women who felt they had had “quite poor treatment” from their workplaces after having  miscarriages visited Labour’s Clare Curran.

“I worked with the group of women to understand what their experiences were and drafted the bill.”

This is my only reservation. Is a law change needed. I’d hope any employer would give bereavement leave to who has suffered a miscarriage (or their partner). But if some people have had difficulty, this this is a worthwhile law change.

At a minimum I’d hope all parties would at least support it to select committee stage, so MPs can hear evidence about how widespread any refusals have been. Certainly based on media stories to date, there have been quite a few refusals, so again the bill seems very worthwhile.

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