Push to give workers time off to grieve loss of babies

Small businesses, even those impacted by COVID-19, support a bid to legislate paid leave for early miscarriage that will be presented to the Attorney-General by the end of the month.

Federal MP for Ryan Julian Simmonds said he and advocacy group Pink Elephants will present their findings to Attorney-General Christian Porter "by the end of February".

They are calling for an amendment to the Fair Work Act that will legislate two days paid leave for pregnancy losses before 12 weeks.

"This is something that is important to families in my electorate, and something that my wife and I have a personal connection with," Mr Simmonds said.

"The data demonstrates that not only does the majority of small businesses support leave being extended to early pregnancy loss, but even those who have had it tough during COVID support extending this support for couples who are going through this really tough experience."

Mr Simmonds' wife Madeline revealed last year that she was one of those women who stayed at her desk the day she miscarried because she was embarrassed and felt it was too personal to discuss.

The announcement comes as new survey data from the Pink Elephants support network shows the majority of small businesses support the change.

The survey of more than 550 small businesses across Australia found 71 per cent of small businesses support a formal leave entitlement for early pregnancy loss.

It also found 57 per cent of small businesses were not even aware there was no current entitlement to cover bereavement for miscarriage before 12 weeks.

While one in four women will have a miscarriage, the survey revealed only 11 per cent of small business employers were aware of staff taking leave due to a miscarriage.

Of those who were aware a staff member had taken leave for a miscarriage, 22 per cent took sick leave; 17 per cent took annual leave and 11 per cent took no leave at all.

"A change to the Fair Work Act says, we see you, we are sorry for your loss, it's OK to grieve the loss of your baby," Pink Elephants chief executive Samantha Payne said.

"Women and their partners going through miscarriage and early pregnancy loss deserve access to bereavement leave, they are grieving the loss of their baby, they are not sick and shouldn't be forced to take personal leave."

Originally published as Push to give workers time off to grieve loss of babies