Miscarriage leave desperately needed for women

12 October 2023

Labour workers’ rights spokesperson Marie Sherlock said the failure of Budget 2024 to provide early miscarriage leave means women remain disadvantaged in the workplace.

Senator Sherlock said:

“In March 2021, Labour introduced a Bill to provide up to 20 days paid time off work for women who experience an early miscarriage, and up to 10 days for workers undergoing fertility treatments. Since then, Government have utterly failed to act on this desperately needed compassionate leave.

“There is no legal workplace recognition of what is an immensely traumatic and upsetting time for women and families. We know that approximately 14,000 women will experience a miscarriage in Ireland each year.

“These women are afforded no time off to recover physically and emotionally from their loss.

“In response to Parliamentary Questions put down by the Labour Party, Minister O’Gorman stated that he is awaiting the results of a survey his Department has commissioned before making any decisions on how to support women impacted. Government has been kicking the can on introducing this much needed measure for almost three years.

“In Labour’s Alternative Budget, we called for the introduction of reproductive leave for miscarriage or threatened miscarriage. Such a measure would only cost €8.4 million annually, but would be priceless for the women who need it.

“We need to support workers when they need it most. The failure to provide compassionate leave in this year’s Budget shows just how out of touch this Government is.”

For Written Answer on : 26/09/2023
Question Number(s): 503 Question Reference(s): 41616/23
Department: Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
Asked by: Ivana Bacik T.D.


To ask the Minister for Children; Equality; Disability; Integration and Youth if it is anticipated that the Pregnancy Loss in Workplaces project will report in 2023; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


I recognise the enormous impact that pregnancy loss has on expectant parents, and I wish to extend my sympathies to all parents who have suffered such a loss.

Work to examine the needs of bereaved working parents coping with pregnancy loss is being advanced at present. My Department has commissioned a qualitative research study to examine the workplace experiences of parents coping with pregnancy loss. The study examines whether policy interventions are required at a national level to better to support these bereaved parents in the workplace.

The study focuses on people who experience pregnancy loss prior to 24 weeks’ gestation, as people who have a pregnancy loss after 24 weeks’ gestation can avail of full maternity leave and paternity leave entitlements.

The study has now largely concluded, and a report is being finalised which will be published shortly. The recommendations that arise from this study will help to inform Government policy, including the development of legislation to address the issue of miscarriage leave if required.

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