Couples who suffer a miscarriage could get paid leave

Couples who suffer a miscarriage could soon be eligible for up to three days' leave under Labour MP Ginny Andersen's proposed law change.

She'd like the leave extended to women after they've had abortions as well, but admits that would be too controversial and would compromise the Bill's chance of passing.

When Kathryn van Beek lost her baby, she took four days off work.

"It was so unexpected and there was a lot of shock and disappointment to work through - just the same as anyone else going through grief."

After several years of trying to conceive, the devastation of a miscarriage was immense. She needed time to grieve and realised there was no way she could take bereavement leave, so she wrote to MPs to change that.

"I thought, 'Hold on, this isn't right'."

Currently, the law says you can take bereavement leave if your child dies, but a miscarriage is not explicitly covered. Bereavement leave for that is at the discretion of the employer.

Under the proposed law, both parents would be eligible for three days of bereavement leave after a miscarriage.

"It affects a lot of women and their partners, and it's important that women and their families have time to grieve," Ms Andersen says.

It's estimated that as many as a quarter of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, and a large majority of those happen within the first 12 weeks.

"Having to go to work in those circumstances can be really traumatic," she says.

Leave would also be available to women still carrying babies whose hearts have stopped.

Ms Andersen admits women who have abortions could benefit from leave too, but she won't include that in the law because it's too controversial.

"I would like this Member's Bill to pass," she told Newshub.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern wouldn't commit to adopting the Bill as government legislation - she'd rather have Parliament debate it.

Family First NZ has welcomed the Bill and says it should cover post-abortion bereavement leave.

"Abortion grief is also the 'elephant in the room' and these women shouldn't be dismissed because of a few that say it was the right decision for them to abort," spokesperson Marina Young says.

"A person begins to heal the moment they feel heard."