Bacik says delays to providing miscarriage leave unacceptable
- Labour amendments to provide early miscarriage and reproductive health leave ruled out of order
- Department using time wasting tactics instead of legislating for leave
Labour leader Ivana Bacik expressed her disappointment at government’s failure to support Labour amendments to provide early miscarriage and reproductive health related leave.
Following confirmation by the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth in the Dáil that government were investigating a method of providing early miscarriage leave, Deputy Bacik said this could be swiftly dealt with through the Organisation of Working Time Act to provide leave when it matters most.
Deputy Bacik said:
“I was disappointed this week that Labour amendments to the government’s Work Life Balance Bill to provide early miscarriage leave were disallowed. The government had previously indicated its commitment to move towards providing a compassionate approach to women who experience an early miscarriage by providing them with paid, protected time off work. While I welcome Minister O’Gorman’s commitment to the principle of this paid leave, there can be no further time wasting.
“Reproductive health is a deeply personal issue. In Ireland, around 14,000 women will experience a miscarriage each year, and around one in six couples will experience fertility issues. Since I first published a Bill in 2021 to provide up to 20 days paid leave for women who experience early miscarriage, and up to 10 days for any worker undergoing fertility treatment, I have been deeply moved by the testimony sent to me by people across Ireland. We need to provide leave to people when they need it most.
“Despite the immense progress that has been made towards greater equality for women in the workplace, many barriers remain preventing women’s full and equal participation. In particular, many women have lacked necessary support from employers when facing difficult and sensitive issues around fertility and reproductive health.
“For far too long, women have had to remain silent in their workplaces about the grief of early miscarriage; or have had to use their annual leave in order to attend appointments for IVF treatments. We need to provide women – and men – with support in the workplace, where they are struggling with fertility or other reproductive health issues.
“It beggars belief that government are choosing to disallow Labour amendments and delay our Bill to provide support for people when they need it most.
“Aside from the practical support that this Bill would provide, it would also represent a meaningful step towards opening up conversations around reproductive health in Ireland, and would help to encourage public awareness of reproductive health issues. Last year, Irish parliamentarians congratulated New Zealand for providing early miscarriage leave. We can provide support when it matters most at home through the speedy passage of Labour’s Organisation of Working Time (Reproductive Health Related Leave) Bill 2021.”