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Paid Miscarriage Leave Introduced For Public Sector Workers In NSW

Published June 23, 2021 (last updated June 24, 2021) -
employer confident she understands compassionate leave

A new form of paid leave is being introduced in New South Wales, to better support workers and the spouses of workers who have a miscarriage or stillbirth. Under the scheme announced in the state budget, all full, part-time, permanent, and temporary public sector workers will be able to access five days of leave following a miscarriage or stillbirth.

The spouses of public service employees who have a miscarriage or stillbirth can also take advantage of the same paid leave, regardless of whether or not they work in the public sector themselves. Mothers who prematurely give birth will also be given paid pre-term birth leave up until the date their child would have normally been expected. This is in addition to the usual 14 weeks of paid parental leave employees are entitled to in the first year of their child’s life.

Both new measures will come into effect from 1 July 2021. Typically when a new workplace benefit, particularly one as sensitive as this, is introduced, it does not take long until it becomes a nationwide policy.

What About Private Employers and Other States?

The introduction of such a scheme in Australia is comparable to the one that has been in place in New Zealand since March. While similar, New Zealand’s form of bereavement leave only provides those eligible with three days of paid leave, as opposed to the five announced for New South Wales.

While this is a first for Australia and will only be limited to public sector workers in New South Wales, private sector employers, regardless of which part of the country they are in, should expect the new form of paid leave for grieving parents to apply to their own workers in the future.

Private employers should take note of what this newly announced leave in New South Wales entails, and if they discover the added cost might negatively impact their business, should it ever apply to them, then they should use the time they have to make necessary changes to their cash flow to accommodate for it.

While the new scheme in New South Wales will undoubtedly be expanded into other states and possibly into the private sector, it will inevitably cause extra confusion for small business owners, who don’t tend to have a dedicated HR department to help them.

Employers, regardless of state or industry, should familiarise themselves with this new policy, so if it ever does apply to them in the future, they can implement it into their workplace without it being a sudden shock to the business.

Managing Grieving Employees

Grievances in the workplace are something employers across both countries have long needed guidance on. In the first five months of 2021 alone, an average of 530 calls a month have been made to Employsure’s advice line from employers specifically seeking grievance-related help.

Employers typically need advice relating to compassionate leave (such as when an employee’s family or household member dies) and what steps they should take. Calls also extend to personal / carer’s leave (sickness / support) and how to handle employees.

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Need more information about compassionate leave or how to manage grieving employees? We can help you

About Employsure

Employsure is one of Australia’s largest workplace relations advisers to small- and medium-businesses, with over 24,000 clients. We take the complexity out of workplace legislation to help small business employers protect their business and their people.

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