New Zealand unanimously passed a law requiring three days of bereavement leave for parents who lose a child through miscarriage. I wrote a piece for the Institute for Family Studies on why I think this kind of leave is sorely needed.
Parents who lose a child through miscarriage can have their grief dismissed. When my husband and I lost children in the first trimester, our doctors were brusque with us, telling us to move on and work on getting pregnant again. In contrast, the New Zealand law treats a miscarried child with dignity.
Offering bereavement leave communicates something different than offering sick days. Some miscarriages involve medical complexities that make women eligible for sick leave, but when a child dies, the parents shouldn’t need to use up sick leave to grieve. A mother shouldn’t need to question whether her bodily suffering is enough to interfere with her work and qualify for medical leave. Bereavement leave is more unconditional. Bereavement leave also makes it clear that fathers also deserve time off after a death.