Pregnancy loss and reproductive health leave legislation must be enacted this year

Ivana Bacik TD
11 January 2024
  • Labour bill would provide 20 days paid time off for pregnancy loss and 10 days for accessing fertility treatments
  • Bill passed Seanad in November with Government support
  • Labour to use PMB slot on 18th January to make compassion the norm in the workplace

The Labour Party will use its first Private Members’ time of 2024 to urge action for women and workers who experience reproductive health challenges.

The Labour Party’s Reproductive Health Leave Bill would embed compassion into workplaces by providing access to up to 20 days paid time off work in the case of a pregnancy loss, and up to 10 days paid leave for accessing fertility treatments like IVF.

This Bill was the only piece of opposition legislation to pass in either House in 2023, passing in the Seanad on 29th November 2023 with Government support.

Labour leader Ivana Bacik has called on Government to legislate for compassion in the workplace and to ensure the swift passage of Labour’s Bill this year.

Deputy Bacik said:

“Ireland lags behind many other countries in terms of supports in the workplace for women who experience pregnancy loss or those with fertility challenges. It’s time to change this and act to embed compassion in the workplace.

“Our hopes and dreams for our family do not exist outside of the hours of 9 to 5. They are always with us. This needs to be acknowledged in how we approach helping people in the workplace when they need it most.

“The Dáil will debate Labour’s Reproductive Health Leave Bill next Thursday (18th January) and I urge all TDs to support this Bill to provide for leave when it matters most.

“This Bill passed the Seanad at the end of November last year with Government support. We are calling on Government now to do more than just wave this bill through its first debate in the Dail next week– we are demanding action for the approximately 14,000 women who experience pregnancy loss each year, and the one in six couples who struggle with fertility.

“Right now, we know that women are using up sick leave or annual leave after an early pregnancy loss or to attend fertility treatments. It’s just not right or fair. It’s a hangup from times when women and their experiences were surplus to requirements in the workplace and this needs to change.

“Early pregnancy loss, miscarriage or fertility issues remain very painful topics for people, and can be challenging to discuss with friends, family and co-workers. But the introduction of workplace measures for people undergoing such experiences would represent a meaningful step towards opening conversations around reproductive health in workplaces nationwide, and would help to encourage public awareness around reproductive health issues.

“Ireland must be brave and join New Zealand, India and other countries in providing time off work when it matters most.”

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