New Zealand passes Miscarriages Bereavement Leave Law

Parliament of New Zealand passed the ‘Miscarriage bereavement leave law’.  This legislation provides mothers and their partners a “right to paid leave” after a miscarriage or stillbirth. New Zealand has become the second country, following India, across the world to pass such legislation.

Bereavement Leave Law

The bereavement leave law was passed unanimously in parliament on March 24, 2021. It provides the employees three days leave after a pregnancy ends with a stillbirth. They do not require to tap into sick leave now. Bill will provide women and their partners time to come to terms with their loss. Leave provisions apply to mothers, their partners and the parents who are planning to have a child through adoption or surrogacy.

Background

This legislation was passed by considering the fact that, one in four New Zealand women have had a miscarriage. Further, the country has been a pioneer on issues related to woman’s rights. It was the first country to give “voting rights to women”. It also passed a law in 2020 to decriminalise abortion. Government of New Zealand under Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is regarded as a global champion for women.

Maternity Leave Law in India

Maternity leave in India is a paid leave in case of absence from work. Thus, this provision allows women employees the benefit to take care of their newborn besides retaining their jobs. Maternity leave Benefit Act 1961 was the first maternity leave law. It provided women employees a paid leave of 12 weeks post-delivery. The act was applicable to establishments with ten plus employees. provisions of this act were applicable to women employees on a permanent basis, contract or engaged with agencies. However, this act was revised as Maternity leave (Amendment) Bill 2017.

Maternity Leave (Amendment) Bill 2017

Maternity leave Act is applicable to establishments such as corporates, mines, factories, shops & establishment act, plantations, and government establishments. To be eligible under this Act, women employee should have completed working for 80 days in current establishment in last 12 months. Paid leave is based on average daily wage during the period of absence. It has extended 12 weeks’ leave to 26 weeks which can be bifurcated as post and pre-delivery leaves.

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