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11th Jun 2020

New mothers outside the Dáil today asking for maternity leave extension

Melissa Carton

Many new mums feel that maternity leave should be extended.

New mothers and their babies met with politicians and media at the Dáil gates today to hand over a 25 and a half thousand strong Uplift petition to extend maternity leave.

They feel that their maternity leave and ability to return to work has been negatively affected by lockdown measures, and that their maternity leave should be extended by several more weeks.

Tara McDarby, new mum – along with Callum, 4 months old – said:

“We need childcare solutions available to us so we can return to work. We should not have to give up our jobs. Women have the right to be in the workplace, as well as know their children are being taken care off. That’s why we’re calling on the government to extend maternity leave for another 12 weeks until things go back to normal.”

Uplift’s Shae Flanagan says:

“This group of new mums have been campaigning hard for weeks and 25 and half thousand Uplift members are behind them. They need certainty about their futures and the welfare of their babies. Our people-powered community is calling on the government to make sure families are protected.”

The petition was handed over to politicians, including TD Brid Smith, Senator Marie Sherlock and Sinn Fein party leader Mary Lou McDonald. It will be discussed in the Dáil today.

The petition (which you can view here) outlines why new mums would like maternity leave extended;

In light of the recent outbreak of COVID-19 and the lockdown maternity leave/ maternity benefit should be extended by 3 months for those who are currently on it.
With all childcare facilities bring closed many parents face issues of where to leave their babies, with facing loosing their jobs if they have nowhere to leave them.
Maternity leave is time when you and baby can attend baby groups, spend time with family, attend needed appointments and with a country being in lockdown none of these things are happening. Many babies have not met their family members or met other babies to socialise in baby groups, these things are vital for baby development, bonding and educating for babies and their parents.
Due to COVID-19 many of us are scared to leave our homes and bring babies outside, with the uncertainty of when this is going to end, maternity leave and maternity benefit should be extended giving families reassurance and support.