Almost two years on and no action on miscarriage leave

23 February 2023

Labour workers’ rights spokesperson Marie Sherlock has reiterated Labour’s call for paid time off work in the event of an early miscarriage.

In March 2021, the Labour Party published its Bill to amend the Organisation of Working Time Act to allow 20 days paid leave in the event of an early miscarriage and up to 10 days for any employee seeking fertility treatments.

Senator Sherlock said:

“This government is failing to pave the way to greater workplace equality and giving workers time off when it matters most. For almost two years, they have allowed our bill, to provide compassion at a harrowing time for women and couples, to languish. It’s not good enough. In November 2022 we gave government another opportunity to take action for women and brought forward amendment’s to the Government’s own Work Life Balance Bill to provide early miscarriage leave. These amendments were disallowed.

“In advance of International Women’s Day on March 8th, I am demanding that government focus on less talk and more action when it comes to gender equality in the workplace.

“Despite the immense progress that has been made towards greater equality for women at work, 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, return to work too soon without having a chance to process the trauma of a loss, or have had to use their annual leave in order to attend appointments for IVF treatments. This Bill seeks to provide women – and men – with compassion and support in the workplace, where they are struggling with fertility or other reproductive health issues.

“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.

“Irish parliamentarians were quick to congratulate 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.”

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