Bereavement Leave for Pregnancy Loss
The Holidays (Bereavement Leave for Miscarriage) Amendment Act 2021 (Act) came into force on 1 April 2021.
The Act defines a miscarriage as the end of a pregnancy in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy other than as a result of abortion services provided in accordance with the Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion Act 1977.
The Act adopts the same meaning of a still-birth under the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Act 1995 and is defined as “other than as a result of abortion services provided in accordance with the Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion Act 1977.”
The Act provides that an employee is entitled to a minimum of 3 days’ bereavement leave at the end of their pregnancy, by way of a miscarriage or still-birth. This reflects the same entitlement duration for the death of an employee’s immediate family member.
Employees who are also entitled to at least 3 days’ bereavement leave on the end of another person’s pregnancy, by way of miscarriage or still-birth, are set out as follows.
If the employee -
- is the person’s spouse or partner; or
- is the person’s former spouse or partner and would have been a biological parent of a child born as a result of the pregnancy; or
- had undertaken to be the primary carer of a child born as a result of the pregnancy (for example by way of adoption or a whangai arrangement); or
- is the spouse or partner of a person who had undertaken to be the primary carer of a child born as a result of the pregnancy
Employees are required to tell their employer as soon as possible when they have a bereavement they wish to take leave for.
Employees (including permanent, fixed-term, part-time and causal) will not be entitled to bereavement leave if they do not fit certain criteria. The qualifying criteria is that employees must have either worked for the employer continuously for six months or they have worked for the employer for six months to an average of 10 hours per week and at least one hour in every week or 40 hours in one month.
In the event an employee does not meet the criteria, an employer has the discretion to provide either bereavement leave in advance or annual leave.
Payment for bereavement leave is only required to be made if it was otherwise a working day for the employee. Payment is calculated at the rate of the employee’s relevant daily pay, or alternatively at the employee’s average daily pay. Employers should ensure payment is processed in the ordinary pay cycle.
Employees are entitled to bereavement leave for miscarriage or still-birth every 12 months so long as they continue to meet the criteria under the Act.