Government opts against providing for Labour’s pregnancy loss leave proposal

Ivana Bacik TD
17 January 2024
  • Govt to consider Labour Bill in another 12 months
  • 14,000 women in Ireland experience pregnancy loss each year
  • One in six couples experience fertility issues 
  • Bill was debated in Govt time last November
  • Legislation to be debated in the Dáil on Thursday 18th January

Labour leader Ivana Bacik has criticised the conservative coalition for failing to recognise the clear and urgent need for time off work for reproductive health issues.

The Government has opted to support but delay Labour’s Bill that would provide up to 20 days paid leave for any woman who experiences an early pregnancy loss, and up to 10 days for all people seeking to access fertility treatments like IVF.

Deputy Bacik said:

“It’s time that this Government put their money where their mouth is. They talk the talk but are failing to take on board positive, constructive suggestions to make the workplace better for people in Ireland.

“It’s bitterly disappointing for the over 14,000 women who experience pregnancy loss each year to see Government kick to touch Labour’s plans to provide paid time off work for women to recover from an early pregnancy loss.

“Government have rightly set up a publicly funded IVF system, but it lacks in some aspects  that are needed. Labour’s Bill would provide up to 10 days off for any worker who needs it to access fertility treatments like this.

“For public servants, teachers, healthcare professionals, workers in customer facing roles and any job that requires set hours, it is not possible to down tools, start two hours late or disappear for appointments in the middle of the day. Yet that is what is required when undergoing fertility treatment.

“As an employer, the Government is essentially telling these workers that they don’t care enough to resolve this.

“Our hopes and dreams for our family life do not exist within office hours and Government should have been brave enough to acknowledge this and improve the situation for all workers in Ireland.

“India, the first country to introduce this compassionate measure into the workplace, provide up to six weeks’ leave to support people when they need it most and in 2023, the state of California also legislated for reproductive health leave.

“The teacher’s union, the INTO, were first to raise these issues here in Ireland highlighting in a 2019 survey of their members that some 60% of teachers had faced reproductive health issues in the workplace. These teachers are employed by the State. Government should be doing right by them.

“There’s a growing awareness of the importance of this compassionate leave in the workplace, but outside of the office too. Through highlighting this issue and by legislating for a compassionate approach, Labour hoped to ending the painful silence around reproductive health.

“Unfortunately it’s clear that Government has once again opted to turn its back on working people.”

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