Lost a Child Before Birth? How to Get Time Off in NJ
A miscarriage or stillbirth can be devastating — and perhaps life-changing — for expectant parents.
But that doesn't mean that time off from work to grieve is an automatic.
While bereavement days are quite common across industries in the Garden State, not all employers specifically award paid time off to workers for pregnancy loss, according to a survey conducted by the Employers Association of New Jersey.
In EANJ's survey, all 60 employers indicated that they offer bereavement days or other forms of paid time off that can be used for bereavement purposes. But just 14% said that they have formal policies explicitly addressing paid bereavement for pregnancy-related losses.
"I think it's very encouraging to see that some employers have formalized this type of policy, but I think we're a little short of being able to say that it's a trend yet," said Amy Vazquez, vice president of EANJ.
Federal law does not require employers to offer any kind of bereavement leave; some states have their own mandates.
Legislation introduced in Trenton in early 2023 would grant leave to workers, under the state's Family Leave Act, to grieve the loss of a child, including a miscarriage, stillbirth, or termination of pregnancy for medical reasons. It also allows an employee to take temporary disability leave benefits for the same reasons.
The bill has not moved since February.
In the EANJ survey, some respondents indicated that while their policies do not specifically mention pregnancy loss, it would still be covered under their bereavement leave rules.
“As our understanding of mental health and well-being has expanded, so too has our recognition of the need for compassionate policies that address the unique challenges of pregnancy loss,” Vazquez said.
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Gallery Credit: Rachel Cavanaugh