Parents in the NSW public sector who suffer a miscarriage or stillbirth will be provided with one week of bereavement leave, in a landmark policy set to be included in the NSW budget.
The bereavement policy, first reported by The Australian, will also extend to mothers who give birth prematurely, who will receive paid time off up until the date their child would have reached full term. Male employees affected by a spouse’s miscarriage or stillbirth will also be eligible for the same benefits, whether or not their spouse works in the NSW public sector.
Set to be announced by the NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet in his budget speech on Tuesday, the policy will be the first of its kind in Australia. The policy will apply to part-time and full-time workers in the NSW public sector.
During his speech, the treasurer is expected to say: “Having a miscarriage is not an illness; it is a loss that should be recognised.”
In total, five days of paid leave will be granted to parents who suffer a miscarriage or stillbirth. It’s also been reported that Perrottet is in talks with some private sector companies to encourage them to introduce similar bereavement leave for their employees in NSW.
The NSW government policy comes months after New Zealand granted three days’ paid bereavement leave to parents after a miscarriage or stillbirth, becoming one of the first countries in the world to do so.
At the time, New Zealand MP Ginny Anderson said she hoped the legislation would encourage other countries around the world to follow suit.
“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,” Anderson said in March.
According to The Australian, the NSW government policy has not yet been given to cabinet for final approval, but has been given the tick of approval by the government’s Expenditure Review Committee.