TRENTON – A bill to require that paid and unpaid leave provided under current law includes leave time for an employee who is anticipated to become the parent of a child under a written agreement with a gestational carrier or otherwise provides care for the woman whose pregnancy will result in the child during the woman’s pregnancy and recovery from childbirth passed the full Senate today.
“As we learn more and more about the stress and anxiety associated with child-bearing, and regarding post-partum depression and other concerns that may arise after the birth, we realize that maternity leave is both necessary and natural. Studies show that extended leave time is good for the infant, as well as for the mental and physical health of new mothers,” said Senator Joe Vitale, the bill’s sponsor and chair of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.
The bill, S-1001, would update current law that allows family leave to care for a child born of a surrogate but is silent on leave to take care of a gestational carrier of the expected child. Surrogate mothers are currently covered, as they receive the same maternity leave as anyone else and have no obligation to share their surrogacy or other adoption plans with their employer. Regardless of what happens to household placement of the child, childbirth is intense physically and emotionally, and the more leave time provided for those involved, the better.
The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 40-0.