File photo

Paving way for more humane laws

Last week, New Zealand passed another groundbreaking legislation — this time, for couples who go through a miscarriage or stillbirth. New Zealand approved the new law allowing three-day paid leave after miscarriages or stillbirth without the couple having to tap into their sick leave.

So many women go through miscarriages every day. So many just schedule a D&C as if going for a flu shot and are expected to show up at work. Often, no one at work even knows that the woman they are working with, who is sitting next to them is carrying an enormous amount of emotional, mental and physical pain.

So when New Zealand passed the bill, that too unanimously, that just restored some of my faith in humanity.

This bill prompted me to look around the world to see who else has such compassionate, humane laws in place. And sadly, not many countries do.

India was one of the first countries to acknowledge the need for a miscarriage leave and passed the law to give up to six weeks of paid leave under the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act of 1961. Indian law also allows for up to a month of paid leave in case of sickness due to miscarriage. This also extends to premature birth, medical complications arising from pregnancy as well. However, the law in India is only restricted to women unlike the one in New Zealand in which the partners can also take a three-day paid leave.

In Canada, only those losing a baby at or after 20 weeks are eligible for maternity benefits. There is however no proper legislation mandating employers to offer paid leave or sick days for losses earlier than 20 weeks.

And there isn’t a lot of data around miscarriages in Canada but according to the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada, roughly 15 to 20 per cent pregnancies end in miscarriages. So roughly 15 to 20 per cent of women who are pregnant, go through loss and have to grieve without proper time off to sit in their grief and not worry about losing their pay or losing their jobs. And nearly that many partners have no such provisions of time off either.

After a loss of pregnancy, women and their partners need some time to grieve at least without having to tap into their sick leaves. It is grief, not sickness. So having to cut into sick leave or just not being able to take some time off after a loss of this magnitude seems…unfair, right? Sure, no one can overcome grief like this in three days or six weeks or a lifetime either but it is at least a movement in the right direction.

Here is to hoping Canada takes steps in the right direction too.

Priyanka Ketkar
Multimedia journalist

Like us on Facebook and follows us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has suspended indoor dining at restaurants and pubs until at least April 19 in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. sets new COVID-19 daily record with 1,293 cases Thursday

New order allows workplace closures when infections found

The new 3,500 hectare conservancy in Tahltan territory is located next to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (BC Parks Photo)
New conservancy protects sacred Tahltan land near Mount Edziza Provincial Park

Project is a collaboration between Skeena Resources, conservation groups and the TCG

Mabel Todd, 83, of the Nak’azdli First Nation, leads a group of family members and advocates of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls as they walk along the so-called Highway of Tears in Moricetown, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Province, feds fund full cell service along ‘Highway of Tears’ following years of advocacy

A ‘critical milestone in helping prevent future tragedies’ after at least 10 Indigenous women murdered, missing along the route

Erin O’Toole, Conservative Party of Canada leader, answered questions during a Terrace District Chamber of Commerce event on April 6, 2021. (Screenshot/Terrace District Chamber of Commerce Facebook)
Erin O’Toole discusses Terrace issues during virtual event

Federal Conservative leader answered questions during a Terrace & District Chamber of Commerce event

Tree; Burns Lake library. (Laura Blackwell photo/Lakes District News)
Dragon Tree christened

The Burns Lake Public Library contest for dragon and tree names has… Continue reading

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Guinevere, lovingly referred to by Jackee Sullivan and her family as Gwenny, is in need of a gynecological surgery. The family is raising money to help offset the cost of the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley lizard’s owners raise funds for gynecological surgery

The young reptile is scheduled for operation on Tuesday

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion randomly spotted on remote B.C. logging road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Defence counsel for the accused entered two not guilty pleas by phone to Grand Forks Provincial Court Tuesday, Jan. 12. File photo
B.C. seafood company owner fined $25K for eating receipt, obstructing DFO inspection

Richmond company Tenshi Seafood is facing $75,000 in fines as decided March 4 by a provincial court judge

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 2, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. NDP ministers defend ‘air tax,’ latest COVID-19 business aid

Empty home tax doesn’t apply to businesses, but space above them

In Ontario, COVID-19 vaccine clinics have been set up at local mosques. (Submitted photo: Rufaida Mohammed)
Getting the vaccine does not break your fast, says Muslim COVID-19 task force

Muslim community ‘strongly’ encouraging people to get their shot, whether or not during Ramadan

Most Read