For far too long, women have had to remain silent in their workplaces about the grief of pregnancy loss; or have had to use their annual leave in order to attend appointments for IVF treatments. Labour’s Bill seeks to provide women – and men – with support in the workplace, where they are struggling with fertility or other reproductive health issues.
If enacted, our Bill would provide an entitlement to reproductive leave of up to 20 days for women who suffer an early miscarriage, and up to 10 days leave for any employee to take time off work for reproductive health reasons. It’s a measure that would advance women’s employment rights, and address the structural gender equality issues in the workplace.
Many women – and men – are familiar with the devastation that results when a greatly desired or long-awaited pregnancy results in an early miscarriage, but women have to take annual leave to recover from the heartache and the physical effects of this experience. Many women and men have invested time, money, hopes and dreams in IVF treatment, while taking unpaid leave for extensive medical appointments and related treatments.
This is a workplace issue and our legislation is about affording empathy and dignity to those going through this experience and ensuring accommodation is made for workers at this time.
We are calling on government to fast track this vital piece of legislation to bring fairness into the workplace for all workers. It is crucially important to provide leave when it matters most and change how we think about reproductive healthcare in Ireland.