Recently, the New Zealand parliament unanimously passed a bill that allows employees to take paid leave post a miscarriage. Fortunately, India is way ahead here, having recognised the toll a miscarriage can take on a woman. In our country, the miscarriage leave extends to six weeks of paid leave under the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 1961! But now, companies in other parts of the world are also recognising the need for such a leave. YuLife and Monzo have already altered their leave policies to accommodate paid miscarriage leave. Pressure groups are urging the British government to make working parents eligible for paid miscarriage leave, by law.
Given that at least 10 per cent of pregnancies do end up in miscarriag and repeat miscarriages are not uncommon either, it is high time that the corporates around the world woke up to the importance of such a leave. Till recently, not many organisations had bereavement policies that took into account loss of pregnancy or still births.
UK-based online bank, Monzo, recently introduced paid miscarriage leave as a benefit for its employees. It has introduced paid leave for employees undergoing fertility treatments too. As per the new policy, the concerned employees or their partners can avail up to 10 days of additional paid leave to handle the situation. The benefit is extended to colleagues who are spouses/partners and surrogate mothers too. The Company is sensitive to the fact that loss of pregnancy can be emotionally draining even for the partners of those who have suffered the miscarriage, and not necessarily heterosexual couples or women alone.
Another British firm, YuLife, an insurance company, has started offering its employees five days of paid miscarriage leave. The leave can be availed by the employee who has lost her pregnancy or even the partner of such a person.
Presently, British women are only allowed to take compassionate leave in case of a stillbirth after 24 weeks. Women who miscarry have to use up their casual leaves to recover from the loss and return to work. But now, the Government is being pressurised to consider the toll a miscarriage takes on the woman’s body and mind, and mandate paid miscarriage leave.