By Kim Hooper
This past Tuesday, Senator Tammy Duckworth and Representative Ayanna Pressley introduced a bill that calls for employers to provide at least three days of paid leave for workers who experience a pregnancy loss. This is similar to the legislation that passed in New Zealand in March. In my humble opinion, they should call this the “About Freaking Time Act.”
The bill proposes a minimum of three days of paid leave for workers to “process and cope following a pregnancy loss, an unsuccessful assisted reproductive technology procedures, a failed adoption arrangement, a failed surrogacy arrangement, or a medical diagnosis or event that impacts pregnancy or fertility.” Though I still think three days is not enough time, I’m happy that the US is finally recognizing these types of events as significant.
In addition to paid leave, the legislation aims to invest $45 million a year to the National Institutes of Health for federal research into miscarriages and pregnancy loss, and require that the Department of Health and Human Services, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), develop and spread public information regarding pregnancy loss (eg, statistics, treatment options, etc). For too long, there has been silence on this and women have been expected to just get on with it.
Pressley, in a statement announcing the bill, said the legislation will help send a message to families that “they are not alone” when facing roadblocks associated with growing families. “Pregnancy loss should be met with care, compassion and support,” she said. Yes, it should.