Introduction of paid bereavement leave: What does this mean for private sector employers?

Jun 25, 2021

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On 22 June 2021 in the NSW State budget, a new bereavement leave policy for NSW public workers was established. Women and partners/spouses employed within the public sector who have experienced miscarriages or stillbirths are entitled to five days’ paid leave.

It follows New Zealand’s step in March 2021 (implementation for all employees of a three-days paid bereavement leave for miscarriages). The introduction of this landmark policy indicates a shifting paradigm with more attention given to women and families, and most importantly, focusing on individual mental and physical wellbeing.

Presently, this ground-breaking policy is only applicable to public workers in NSW. There have been no changes to the leave entitlements afforded to all national system employees under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).

The Fair Work Act currently provides that parents must use their ordinary paid personal leave or annual leave following a miscarriage or stillbirth, or alternatively use unpaid special maternity leave.

However, NSW’s policy should be expected to soon extend to the national employment system and further into the private sector. Earlier this year, Zip Co, one of Australia’s largest ‘buy now, pay later’ platforms introduced a two-week paid bereavement leave policy. The private sector is adopting paid leave for employees through vulnerable times of physical, emotional and mental grievances.

How can Clinch Long Woodbridge be of assistance?

Our employment team has extensive knowledge and experience in employment law, and will provide you with the most practical and sensible solutions in implementing any bereavement policy changes for our employer clients who elect to incorporate this policy as it becomes more popular and has broader application across workplaces.

If you wish to discuss any of the above, please do not hesitate to email Clayton Long on clong@clw.com.au or Genevieve Hehir on ghehir@clw.com, or alternatively call our office on (02) 9279 4888.

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