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

“Skeena,” by John Hudson and Paul Hanslow is one of five fonts in the running to become the default for Microsoft systems and Office programs. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Font named after Skeena River could become the next Microsoft default

One of the five new fonts will replace Calibri, which has been Microsoft’s default since 2007

Kindergarten class out learning some basic safety and biking skills on Spirit North Day. (Rachelle van Zanten photo/Lakes District News)
Spirit North’s after school program for spring and summer begin

The Spirit North’s after-school program at Morris Williams Elementary school has been… Continue reading

Indigenous count crucial to determining services

Pandemic protection measures in place for Indigenous communities

Kenny Olson in the bakery department where he worked for the past two years. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
Community bids adieu to Kenny Olson

Retirement beckons after 40 years with Overwaitea/Save-On Foods

Beth Berlin with Lisa Cant after administering vaccines at the one-day walk-in clinic in Burns Lake last week. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
Burns Lake health area sees 50 per cent immunized population

Unknown when further clinics may be held

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

A worker rides a bike at a B.C. Hydro substation in Vancouver, on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
BC Hydro report raises safety concerns as pandemic prompts jump in yard work

Incidents involving weekend tree trimmers, gardeners and landscapers have risen 30% since the pandemic hit

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent sails past a iceberg in Lancaster Sound, Friday, July 11, 2008. The federal government is expected to end nearly two years of mystery today and reveal its plan to build a new, long overdue heavy icebreaker for the Canadian Coast Guard. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver, Quebec shipyards to each get new heavy icebreaker, cost remains a mystery

Vancouver’s Seaspan Shipyards and Quebec-based Chantier Davie will each build an icebreaker for the coast guard

Most Read