Bacik criticises Government decision to delay reproductive leave billMike Finnerty 19 Jan 2024
A bill that would have given workers reproductive leave and brought Ireland in line with the rest of Europe has been delayed by Govermnent.
The bill, proposed by Labour, would have introduced 20 days paid leave for early pregnancy loss and 10 days for fertility treatments for workers.
The decision was made by Government to defer the bill for a year.
Party leader Ivana Bacik criticised the decision to “kick the can down the road.”
“This delay is a disheartening setback. Labour’s Reproductive Leave Bill would provide much-needed support during times of immense emotional and physical challenge. While the government claims to support the bill in principle, actions speak louder than words.”
Bacik said that Government must be questioned over their “sincerity” to tackling issues surrounding pregnancy and fertility.
“Despite expressing support for the Bill, Government will kick the can down the road, by delaying it for 12 months – it is common knowledge that it is unlikely this Government will last another 12 months.”
“Last November, this crucial bill was debated on government time and passed in the Seanad, highlighting the pressing need to address the emotional and financial burden faced by those undergoing fertility treatments and experiencing pregnancy loss. The statistics are stark – 14,000 women in Ireland endure the pain of pregnancy loss each year, and one in six couples grapple with fertility challenges.
“Government’s choice to defer addressing this critical issue suggests a lack of commitment to the well-being of citizens facing reproductive challenges. It is imperative that we move beyond political manoeuvring and prioritise the needs of those who have been waiting for essential support for far too long.”
“There is almost a week still to go before this bill and the Government’s amendment will be voted on next Wednesday. The Government has acknowledged that research it commissioned from the UCC Pregnancy Loss Research Group in 2022 was completed back in Autumn of last year. It is not tenable for the Government to neither publish that report, nor allow our bill to progress to the next stage.”
She said that Governemnt deferring the bill is “not fair” on workers who cannot avail of reproductive leave.
“We’re calling on Government to reconsider this approach and prioritise the well-being of individuals affected by early pregnancy loss and fertility issues. The time for action is now.”