Ireland should offer paid leave to all couples who suffer early pregnancy loss, a Fine Gael TD has said.
Deputy Emer Higgins has called for the implementation of paid leave for couples who suffer a miscarriage in the early stages of their pregnancy, following landmark legislation introduced in New Zealand to support those who experience pregnancy loss.
Deputy Higgins said, “In Ireland we are very progressive when it comes to supporting women who suffer stillbirths or miscarriage after 24 weeks by providing them with access to full paid maternity leave.
“But the very sad reality is that one in every five pregnancies are lost in their early stages and the trauma of early pregnancy loss needs to be acknowledged too.
“Many people choose to keep their pregnancy to themselves in the early stages, so when loss does happen it can be incredibly lonely and difficult to mourn for a life that the people around you weren’t even aware of.
“No one should have to use their sick leave in this situation or worse have to continue on working like nothing has happened.
“I believe we should be doing more to support couples in this situation, and I think we should start by offering 5 days miscarriage leave to the woman with a view to expanding this benefit to their partner.
“Just this week we extended paid parents leave for all those who have welcomed their new arrival, and this is a real signal of support to Irish parents.
“We need to provide similar support to families that are coming to terms with the loss of their pregnancy. It should not be left to the discretion of an employer as to whether or not a woman can take a few days off work to help her process the trauma her body and mind have gone through,” Deputy Higgins concluded.