Explained: Did You Know You Are Entitled to Miscarriage Leaves in India?

New Zealand approves paid leave after miscarriage. India was the first country to create such a policy long back.

In what is being hailed as historic legislation, New Zealand approved a new measure allowing for paid leave after a miscarriage. "New Zealand will become one of the world's only countries to offer paid bereavement leave for workers who suffer a miscarriage," read the CNN tweet.

What this means is that employees in the country will be entitled to three days' leave after a miscarriage, without having to tap into sick leave. Ginny Andersen, the Labour MP who introduced the bill, said it would make New Zealand the second country to provide such a benefit. "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," she said in parliament during the final reading of the bill.

"The bill will give women and their partners time to come to terms with their loss without having to tap into sick leave. Because their grief is not a sickness, it is a loss. And loss takes time," said Andersen.

The bill is set to gain royal assent after passing its final stage in parliament.

Do Indians get miscarriage leave?

Yes, India does have a miscarriage leave policy in place. India legislated this first in 1961. In case of miscarriage or medical termination of pregnancy, a female employee is entitled to six weeks of paid miscarriage leave. The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 1961 states, "In case of miscarriage, a woman shall, on production of such proof as may be prescribed, be entitled to leave with wages at the rate of maternity benefit for a period of six weeks immediately following the day of her miscarriage."

How to avail the miscarriage leave?

To avail the leave, one needs to submit proof. The Human Resource (HR) personnel of the company will need a medical certificate from the doctor or the hospital stating the employee has miscarried. The law does not state the employee needs to submit any proof to the immediate boss or reporting manager.

Besides six weeks of paid miscarriage leave, employees are also entitled to an additional one month of paid leave in case of complications or poor health after a miscarriage. For this too, they will have to provide proof of ill health to HR to avail of it.

The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 1961 states, "Woman suffering illness arising out of pregnancy, delivery, premature birth of child or miscarriage shall, on production of such proof as may be prescribed, be entitled in addition to the period of absence allowed to her under section 6, or, as the case may be, under section 9, to leave with wages at the rate of maternity benefit for a maximum period of one month."

How many times can you avail a miscarriage leave?

There is no limit on the number of times women are allowed miscarriage leave.

Do husbands/partners also get time off?

New Zealand's bill states that both mothers and their partners are entitled to the leave. In India, though, the miscarriage leave is not gender neutral. As per the law, men can't avail of its benefits yet.

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