26th May 2021
INTO members across the country wrote to Senators over the last week in support of the proposed Organisation of Working Time (Reproductive Health Leave) Bill 2021. The bill, proposed by Senator Ivana Bacik, and informed by the compelling and harrowing stories of INTO members who endured challenging reproductive leave related incidents, including miscarriages and invasive IVF treatment, proposes to:
- Provide female employees with up to 20 days leave for early miscarriage; and
- Give an entitlement to all employees of up to 10 days leave for access to reproductive healthcare treatment, such as IVF.
A total of 18 senators spoke in favour of the Bill from all groupings and parties, both government and opposition, at a two-hour debate on the Second Stage this week. In response, Minister Damien English committed to working with Senator Bacik to ensure that the provisions of the Bill would be implemented by government.
Minister English expressed the view that a different, stand-alone statutory framework would be preferable to the approach laid out in the proposed Bill, and he requested time to consider the practical next steps which would be necessary to deliver the issues.
INTO General Secretary John Boyle welcomed the positive developments, commenting:
Members took to the stage at Congress two years ago, one after another, sharing heart-breaking stories of loss and the reproductive health challenges they endured. I commend Senator Bacik for her hard work progressing this matter. We will hold the government to its word and we await further communication from the Government on the next steps. I want to congratulate the Equality Committee of the INTO for bringing this important matter to INTO Congress and for stewarding our campaign to deliver these very necessary, practical, and incredibly helpful supports to our members and fellow workers.