The loss of a pregnancy can be an experience of profound grief and anguish. For many, time off from work is a necessary respite to help cope, something MLA Lorelei Nicoll’s family, and many Nova Scotians, know all too well.
Nicoll’s granddaughter was stillborn at 32 weeks in November 2020. It was – and still is – a devastating loss for the family. And that’s why today Nicoll will be introducing Ruby’s Law, an amendment to the Nova Scotia Labour Standards Code that will allow expectant or biological parents who’ve suffered a pregnancy loss to take bereavement leave from work. Named after her late infant granddaughter, Ruby’s Law will give parents the time off they need to help grieve such a tragedy.
Right now, the 2021 Labour Standards Code lists the types of relationships Nova Scotians are allowed to take bereavement leave for. The loss of a child is listed, but not loss of pregnancy. This bill would change that.
“A miscarriage or stillbirth is a deeply heartbreaking loss,” says Nicoll. “For many families, it’s a tragedy they never fully get over. Ruby’s Law would give parents the time off work they need to help in their emotional recovery.”
Nova Scotians are eligible for up to five working days of unpaid bereavement leave. Ruby’s Law would change the wording of the labour code to ensure there’s no room for interpretation when listing “pregnancy loss” as well and would extend to both parents involved, expectant or biological.
“Whether it’s early in the pregnancy or full-term, a loss is a loss. And parents deserve to have support from their government as they cope with that type of bereavement,” says Nicoll.