The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) has supported the ‘Organisation of Working Time (Reproductive Health Related Leave) Bill 2021’ proposed by Senator Ivana Bacik.
This Bill responds to calls from the INTO for a reproductive health leave scheme to support members managing early miscarriage, fertility treatments and other reproductive health related matters during the school year.
Research carried out by the INTO Equality Committee found that INTO members were using sick leave and school holidays to try and manage reproductive health related matters.
However, given that the scheduling of many appointments and/or treatments is fertility cycle dependent, it can often give rise to a leave requirement during the school term.
In addition to the stress associated with managing a reproductive health related matter, many members expressed concern it was adding to that pressure.
A motion calling for statutory reproductive health leave was passed by INTO members at Annual Congress in 2019, with many members bravely taking to the stage to share their personal story.
This Bill seeks to offer not just INTO members, but all workers, 20 days paid leave in the incidences of pre-28 week miscarriage and 10 days paid leave when needing to receive treatment from a registered medical practitioner in relation to reproductive health related matters.
While the Bill still has some way to travel to be signed into legislation this is a very positive start.
A member research report including a survey of more than 2,000 members is available here.