A petition calling for a temporary extension to maternity leave has already received more than 15.000 signatures
An effort to support families during the Coronavirus pandemic.
A new petition on my.uplift.ie is calling for the Irish government to temporarily extend maternity leave and maternity benefit by three months, in an effort to help out families who are currently on parental leave during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Currently, the standard maternity entitlement in Ireland allows new mums to take 26 weeks paid maternity leave, and also up to a further 16 weeks unpaid leave.
The petition, which has already gathered more than 15.000 signatures, was launched three weeks ago, and here is what Agnes Graholska, the force behind the campaign has to say:
“With all childcare facilities being closed, many parents face issues of where to leave their babies, facing losing their jobs if they have nowhere to leave them.
“Maternity leave is a time when you and baby can attend baby groups, spend time with family, attend needed appointments and with the 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 education 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.”
Pregnant women and new mums are already missing out on much-needed antenatal classes and face-to-face appointments with healthcare workers.
Some women are reportedly losing out on valuable maternity-leave time after being forced to start maternity leave early due to the pandemic, with no current assurance that this time or financial support will be regained at the end of their regular leave period unless special measures are introduced.
“If you are currently on maternity leave and you are due to return to work, but your workplace is closed and you are not being paid by your employer, you can claim CPUP when your maternity leave ends.”
As it stands, employers are under no legal obligation to pay employees on maternity leave, it depends on your employer and contract of employment. Depending on your PRSI contributions, most women do however receive state Maternity Benefit, which is currently set at €245 per week.