Labour MP Ginny Anderson’s new members’ bill, the Holidays (Bereavement Leave for Miscarriage) Amendment Bill (“the Bill”) was drawn from the ballot and introduced to the House earlier this month.
The Bill proposes to clarify the ambiguity regarding whether bereavement leave, as it is currently provided in the Holidays Act 2003, is available for employees who suffer a miscarriage or whose spouse or partner suffers a miscarriage.
Currently employees who suffer the bereavement of a child (or other close family member) are entitled to three days bereavement leave. It is unclear whether an “unborn child” is classified as a child. The result of this is that many employees suffering a miscarriage do not feel comfortable requesting bereavement leave at all. For those employees who do make such a request, their employer decides whether to grant or decline it. This can have a devastating impact on already grieving employees.
Ginny Anderson has stated that she will seek bipartisan support for the Bill by speaking with MPs from all political parties.
There is no current timeline for the progression of the Bill.
By Anneke Reid