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So you’re having a baby? What does that mean in the workplace?

Wednesday 13 November, 2019

When you decide to have a baby, it can be a pretty exciting time but things can feel a bit uncertain in the workplace. Will you take time off, how will you juggle things financially and if you take time off, will you have a job to go back to?

The law recognises this and provides provisions through the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act. Depending on your work situation, if you are the primary carer you can qualify for up to 22 weeks of paid leave with an additional 30 weeks of extended leave. In July 2020 this will increase to 26 weeks. Check out this helpful tool to work out your eligibility.

Importantly, you cannot be fired for being pregnant and in many cases your employer may be required to keep your job open for you. The best thing to do is to speak with your employer and come up with a bit of a plan for parental leave. If you feel like you are being disadvantaged or your rights are being denied though, give us a call because we might be able to help.

What happens if I miscarry?

The Holidays Act doesn’t specifically mention miscarriage under bereavement and it is up to an individual employer to determine whether they will grant the three days bereavement leave that is guaranteed with the death of a child.

This seems a bit of a tricky situation and could cause issues between employers and employees. Luckily laws are changing to reflect this throughout the world. India and Canada already giving bereavement leave to those who miscarry and Great Britain recently implemented their own law change that will come into effect in 2020.

New Zealand is working to catch up. MP Ginny Anderson’s bill to amend the Holiday’s Act to include miscarriage bereavement leave was drawn up in June 2019. It seems likely to pass, given its public support and the inclusion of parental leave in the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act for those who have late-term miscarriages.

If this law change will come too late for you, talk to your employer. While it is not specifically mandated in the Holiday’s Act, many companies will offer leave and other support for those who miscarry, recognising that it is indeed a difficult time. If not, and you feel you’re being treated unfairly, we may be able to help. We feel it’s likely that the ERA could view this as a genuine bereavement. Aroha nui.


This article does not purport to be legal advice. Get a second opinion, and if there are any uncertainties call us directly. We assume no liability for reliance on this post.