Our Campaign for Bereavement Leave Following Early Pregnancy Loss
Early pregnancy loss is often described as disenfranchised. With our campaign we are aiming to validate early pregnancy loss as bereavement. We cannot do this alone - to support please donate here.
Currently FairWork Australia doesn’t recognise a loss prior to 20 weeks, with no provision in place despite the fact that 98% of losses occur prior to 12 weeks. That translates as approximately 103,000 couples each year not receiving validation that their loss matters.
But today our Pink Elephants team and community is feeling incredibly joyful and grateful about our Leave for Loss campaign as women who experience miscarriage, and their partners, will soon be entitled to two days of paid bereavement leave, as landmark legislation was put to the federal parliament on 24th June 2021.
What this means for our community is validation, that miscarriage matters, and that we are entitled to grieve the loss of our babies.
Federal Attorney-General Michaelia Cash introduced an amendment to the Fair Work Act to the senate, in an effort to legislate the policy change.
The federal government introduced the miscarriage leave changes as part of its Sex Discrimination and Fair Work (Respect at Work) Amendment Bill.
Our Pink Elephants community have been actively lobbying the federal government to amend the Fair Work Act for 3 years, seeking to provide Australian workers with access to the paid bereavement leave they deserve after a loss of pregnancy. And there is more work to be done. Please help us by donating to ensure better support and workplace policies for early pregnancy loss.
Our CEO Samantha Payne says:
“Without this, women and their partners' experience of loss is minimised, and often this means they are not grieving and not accessing support. We then end up with really poor mental health outcomes like anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (1, 2).”
There is no doubt the legislation will help remove the stigma and silence surrounding miscarriage in workplaces, and it will also mean employers will offer better support.
This amendment will open up the door for so many more conversations around how we better, as a nation, support women and their partners, whose babies die to miscarriage.
We want to normalise miscarriage for the world to see. Part of that is policy change, because policy change creates cultural change. We need your support to ensure this important work can continue. Please donate today.
Read more about Sam's interview here.
Mr Julian Simmonds MP and his wife have experienced their own heartbreaking loss, and have been incredible advocates and campaigners to allow access to bereavement leave for Miscarriage and Early Pregnancy Loss. Julian has spoken in parliament on this issue and continues to campaign for us. Julian's interview for ABC News can be viewed here. Julian's parliamentary speech can be viewed here.
We are incredibly proud to be working with other corporates who are leading the way by having already made changes to their workplace policies in recent years.
PwC, Minter Ellison, QBE, and Zip are some of the companies that have signed on to our Fertility in the Workplace program, aimed at encouraging the private sector to introduce their own bereavement leave. Pink Elephants can support corporations in creating and embedding their own policies as well as offering bespoke information, panels and training. To find out more about our program, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
As an organisation we want to support our people particularly when times are at their hardest. Clear policy provisioning for pregnancy loss bereavement leave provides that care for our people at what is a traumatic and emotional time. It means there isn’t an uncomfortable conversation about leave eligibility and with the support of Pink Elephants, we can offer further resources to help."
People & Culture Leader, TabCorp
Katrina Groshinski, senior partner at Minter Ellison says, “It is important that employees have a clear right to access compassionate leave if they or their partners suffer a miscarriage.”
“I returned to work the day after my D&C, still bleeding and cramping heavily. I’d used up all my sick leave for fertility treatments”.
“I sat at my desk bleeding, losing my baby too terrified to take leave”.
“I returned two days post my D&C. I was anxious, overwhelmed and scared I’d be a blubbering mess and unable to keep focus. I was in pain and Panadol was doing nothing. In the end, I chose me. I told my boss I was going home and by the time I reached my car I couldn’t even breathe through my tears."
We are incredibly proud of this initiative which can revolutionise the support that Australian women and their partners receive after experiencing the heartache of early pregnancy loss. Please help us continue this important work by donating today.
Research Reference Papers:
- Porschitz and Siler 2017 Miscarriage in the workplace
- Hazen 2003 societal and workplace responses to perinatal grief
- Hazen 2006 silence in workplaces about pregnancy loss
1. Lok IH, Neugebauer R. Psychological morbidity following miscarriage. Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics & Gynaecology. 2007 Apr;21(2):229–47.
2. Farren J, Jalmbrant M, Falconieri N, Mitchell-Jones N, Bobdiwala S, Al-Memar M, et al. Posttraumatic stress, anxiety and depression following miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy: a multicenter, prospective, cohort study. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2019 Dec;222(4).