Aussie buy-now, pay-later giant Zip Co has introduced a policy offering two weeks of paid leave for employees who suffer miscarriage or pregnancy loss before 20 weeks.
Currently, the Fair Work Act only allows for unpaid leave for an employee who personally experiences a miscarriage or pregnancy loss, if it occurs after at least 12 weeks.
Last month, the New Zealand government passed legislation that provides paid bereavement leave for parents who have lost a pregnancy.
It was this that sparked the idea for Zip’s policy, chief people officer Anna Buber-Farovich tells SmartCompany.
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Buber-Farovich has been personally impacted by miscarriage, she says. Now, she wants to shift the conversation about this topic, and give both parents a safe space to come forward and ask for the support they need.
This is “critically important for the mental recovery,” she says.
It was important for her to be inclusive of partners, too. While the physical experience of pregnancy loss affects the woman or pregnant person, the mental experience affects both partners, albeit in different ways.
It’s about allowing partners space to grieve, but also allowing them to be there for the pregnant person at a traumatic time.
While the New Zealand policy mandates three days of paid leave, without eating into an employees sick days, Zip will offer parents two weeks for those who experience miscarriage or pregnancy loss before the 20-week mark.
For anyone who experiences this after 20 weeks, the standard parental leave policy applies, offering 16 weeks of paid leave to primary carers and four weeks to secondary carers.
The policy applies to full- and part-time staff of all genders, in all markets, and regardless of how long they have been at the business.
This isn’t only about supporting Zip employees. Buber-Farovich hopes to spark conversation about miscarriage and pregnancy loss, and set an example to other business leaders.
Reducing the stigma and encouraging openness about topics like this could have a huge impact on people’s lives, she says.
“If we had anything to do with that shift it would be a really, really proud moment.”
Still, it is about creating an inclusive and kind culture at Zip.
Often, culture at tech companies comes down to beanbags, ping pong, and beer on tap. And Zip does offer all of those things, Buber-Farovich notes.
But when it comes to actually creating culture, “very few of those things actually make a difference.”
What holds a company together is its values, and the actual embodiment of them through actions. That means walking the walk and supporting employees in their low moments, as well as their high ones.
“I know how easy it is to make it all about the yoghurts,” Buber-Farovich says.
“Yes we have ping pong tables and yes we have free beer on Fridays, but that’s not what Zip is about.”