Private employers should take note of paid miscarriage leave for public service workers in NSW

Published June 22, 2021 -
Miscarriage Leave

Private sector employers across the country should expect a new form of paid leave for grieving parents to apply to their own workers in the future, following the announcement of such a policy for public sector employees in New South Wales.

Under the scheme announced in the state budget, all full, part-time, permanent and temporary public service 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.

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. Both measures will come into effect from 1 July 2021.

While this is a first for the country and is limited to public workers in one state, Employsure, workplace relations advisor to more than 29,000 SMEs across Australia and New Zealand, believes it will eventually extend to other states and into the private sector.

“Typically when a new workplace benefit, particularly one as sensitive as this, is introduced, it doesn’t take long until it becomes a nationwide policy,” said Employsure employment relations specialist Nicholas Hackenberg.

“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.”

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.

Grievances in the workplace is 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.

“This is clearly a delicate topic employers will always need guidance on, and if this scheme in New South Wales ever extends to the private sector or others states, it will no doubt cause extra confusion for small business owners, who don’t tend to have a dedicated HR department to help them,” continued Mr Hackenberg.

“Employers, regardless of state or industry, should familiarise themselves with this policy in New South Wales, 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.”

Further enquiries:

Matthew Bridges

[email protected]

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