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21st Jan 2022

Calls for women to be given paid leave after pregnancy loss

Kat O'Connor

The Bill could be approved in the coming months.

There have been calls to give women experiencing pregnancy loss paid leave.

The Labour party has called for the Reproductive Health Leave bill to be moved forward.

The bill would give women access to 20 days of paid leave if they suffer a miscarriage.

They can also avail of 10 days leave for reproductive health treatments, including IVF.

Speaking about the bill, Labour Senator Marie Sherlock said it can be such a difficult experience.

“For far too long we know women, in particular, have had to bury these issues in the workplace.”

She believes this bill could be passed this year.

The physical and mental toll women go through after pregnancy loss is something that needs to be taken far more seriously.

Offering women time off to process their grief and to heal is essential.

Currently, women who suffer a stillbirth any time after the 24th week of pregnancy can get full maternity leave.

This means you can take the basic 26 weeks of maternity leave, as well as 16 weeks of additional leave.

Those who have enough PRSI contributions can receive the Maternity Benefit for 26 weeks too.

However, women who suffer a stillbirth need to send a letter from their doctor to apply for maternity leave.

The letter must state the expected date of birth, the actual date of birth, and the number of weeks of pregnancy.

Senator Sherlock also said it is time for the Government to start funding IVF treatments too.

“I think there’s a broader issue here, about for the last six years, we have had a commitment from Government parties with regards to publicly funded support for IVF in this country.

“Ireland is one of the few EU member states that does not publicly support fertility treatment, and that has to change”.