News & Media

Oireachtas must seize the opportunity to pass Reproductive Health Related Leave Bill – Bacik Launches #SupportNotSilence Email Campaign

20 May 2021

Statement by Ivana Bacik TD
Spokesperson on the Enviroment and Climate; Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
  • Debate on Reproductive Health Related Leave Bill to take place on Monday, 24th May at 19.30pm.
  • Template text for an email to Senators is available at www.labour.ie/reproductiveleave

Speaking in advance of a Seanad debate on the Reproductive Health Related Leave Bill 2021, which would give an entitlement of up to 20 days paid leave in the case of early miscarriage and up to 10 days leave for employees accessing other reproductive health treatments, such as IVF, Labour Senator Ivana Bacik has called on supporters of the legislation to contact Government Senators asking them to vote in favour of progressing the legislation to the next stage.

Senator Bacik said:

"Last night, I was joined by renowned broadcaster Síle Seoige, Claire Cullen Delsol of Terminations for Medical Reasons and Leanbh Mo Chraoí, and Clodagh O’Hagan in a public meeting on Instagram Live, where we discussed the very real and very complex role that reproductive health plays in the lives of workers, and women in particular.

"During that conversation I was moved, not only by the honest and generous contributions from our three panellists, but also by the many comments and messages submitted by attendees who recounted their negative experiences at work after suffering an early miscarriage or while receiving IVF or other treatments. Clearly, there is a need for this important legislation, not only to give practical supports, but to break down the awful stigma that so many women in particular face.

"We know that approximately 14,000 miscarriages occur in Ireland each year. Behind those statistics are hopes and dreams lost through pregnancy loss. Ireland must do better. The Oireachtas must the seize the opportunity and vote in favour of my new bill.

"New Zealand introduced a similar measure earlier in the year to much fanfare from politicians in Ireland. Indeed, I have received correspondence from representatives of all parties and none who have indicated their strong personal support for the Reproductive Health Related Leave Bill. Labour has a strong record of passing legislation in cooperation with other parties and I hope that that will be the case here, but we still do not know how Government Senators intend to vote on Monday.

"I am asking supporters of this Bill to write to Government Senators seeking their support next week. A template is available on Labour’s website at www.labour.ie/reproductiveleave. Sending an email takes as little as five minutes, but it may be the difference between progressing this legislation, or allowing it to fall. I call on Government Senators to make representations to their party leaders to enable the Reproductive Health Related Leave Bill to progress to the next stage when it is debated on Monday night."