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Ireland Considers Legalising Paid Leave for Public Sector Employees Following Pregnancy Loss

Dublin: The Irish government is contemplating the legalisation of paid leave for pregnant public sector employees who experience a premature miscarriage, aligning with recommendations from a report commissioned by Cork University. The study, initiated in 2022, focused on workplace benefits for individuals undergoing pregnancy loss before 24 weeks, involving an extensive examination of over a thousand cases.

Recently, Parliament deliberated on a bill to grant additional leave to women requiring an abortion, potentially overshadowing the discussion of the newly presented report. The current statutory paid sick leave stands at three days, set to increase to 10 days by 2026, with six months of maternity leave available to women. However, legal provisions for pregnancy loss are absent, contrary to expert suggestions recommending a minimum of 20 days of leave. The Cork University report also advocates extending leave rights to partners.

The report proposes offering pre-viability leave for pregnancy loss, irrespective of the stage or cause, contingent upon medical certification. Additionally, it urges a reevaluation of existing leave laws. Given that a quarter of pregnancies in the country experience pregnancy loss, predominantly occurring before 12 weeks, the report emphasises the potential benefits of leave, not only for the individual coping with the loss but also for partners dealing with childcare matters.

Recognising the sensitive nature of this issue, the report underscores the importance of handling it with kindness while safeguarding privacy. It recommends allowing reasonable time for notifying employers and emphasises the need for political leadership support to reshape public perceptions surrounding pregnancy loss. Minister Roderic O’Gorman acknowledged the significance of this research project, emphasising its informativeness.

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