INTO supports Labour’s reproductive health plan

The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) has called for the introduction of a reproductive health leave scheme to support members managing early miscarriage, fertility treatments and other reproductive health related matters during the school year. 

Our research has found that INTO members are using sick leave and school holidays to try to manage reproductive health matters, causing unnecessary stress and anxiety. At Congress 2019, members bravely took to the stage to share their personal experiences, passing a resolution in support of reproductive health leave.

In 2021, the INTO supported the ‘Organisation of Working Time (Reproductive Health Related Leave) Bill 2021, proposed by then Senator Ivana Bacik.

While there were early signs from Government that they would support the scheme, no further progress has been made, despite the ongoing efforts of Senator Marie Sherlock.

This week, Ivana Bacik will introduce an amendment to the Government’s Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2022 providing for 20 days’ leave for women experiencing early miscarriage, and up to 10 days leave for any employee taking time off work for reproductive health reasons, including IVF.

To learn more about the Labour Party’s work on this matter, click here.

INTO Deputy General Secretary Deirdre O’Connor said: “Teachers speaking at Congress shared heart-wrenching personal stories of miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy and fertility treatment, and explained why it was important to be able to access leave after these experiences.

As a trade union, supporting our members in their workplace is at the heart of everything we do. We fully support the proposed amendment to the Work Life Balance Bill, to secure this essential leave for workers struggling with reproductive health challenges.”

Of approximately 2,200 respondents in our own research, almost half experienced a pre-24-week miscarriage and 26% undertook fertility treatment. Other issues experienced included threatened miscarriage, 16%, polycystic ovaries diagnosis, 15%, and endometriosis, 15%.”