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Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore believes that Ireland should follow New Zealand’s example by providing paid leave for women who suffer miscarriages.

Deputy Whitmore, who is the party’s spokesperson for Children, was speaking during the Family Leave Bill in the Dáil today where she acknowledged New Zealand’s introduction of a bereavement payment to women who miscarry. Currently, the law in Ireland provides full maternity leave for women who miscarry from 24 weeks onwards, but no earlier.

Deputy Whitmore said:

“We need to follow New Zealand’s example and introduce paid leave for women who find themselves in this situation. They may have been through a lot of physical and mental difficulties and need time and rest to emotionally recover after dealing with such devastating loss.

“As things stand, our bereavement payment only covers five days’ leave for employees who experience the death of a close relative or a stillbirth. Our legislation falls short of protecting women and prospective parents during the often unpredictable journey of parenthood.

“Not for the first time, the Prime Minister of New Zealand has demonstrated real leadership and has shown the world just how engaged a Government can be if they include diverse voices and implement policies designed to support women and families. Such leadership and vision are desperately needed in this country.

“In Ireland, parents have to navigate a confusing network of parental leave entitlements, falling short of proper paid leave. Given the long gap between statutory leave ending and the start of early education, parents are forced to pay exorbitant childcare fees. Women are disproportionately disadvantaged as many give up their job or reduce their hours to fill in the gaps in childcare. As a result, they continue to experience a stubborn gender pay gap in the workforce.”

March 25, 2021

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