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30th Jan 2024

Calls to grant paid leave to people who lose babies before 24 weeks

Kat O'Connor

Paid leave should be granted to anyone who suffers a pregnancy loss

*Warning* Article mentions baby loss

Losing a baby at any stage of pregnancy is a heartache like no other. It doesn’t matter how many weeks you are or what trimester you’re in, that loss is one of the most painful and harrowing feelings you’ll ever face. And it’s sadly something that happens so often in Ireland.

According to the HSE, one in every five women will suffer from a miscarriage.

We should be able to step away from reality when we suffer such a heavy loss. Nobody should be expected to continue as normal when their heart is breaking this much, so why has the Government not introduced paid leave for all people affected by baby loss?

Well, there have been recent calls to introduce statutory paid leave for people who lose babies before 24 weeks.

A report commissioned by the Government has suggested a statutory right to paid leave should be implemented.

The report stressed that people need time off after suffering pregnancy loss, regardless of what stage of pregnancy they’re in.

It also said the paid leave would raise awareness about the impact pregnancy loss can have on the parent, as well as their loved ones.

Too many people have been forced to mourn their loss in private, but the team behind the study believes we need to be more aware of just how devastating this grief is.

Introducing paid leave would make an already difficult period of someone’s life somewhat easier. Giving them time away from work to be with their loved ones could help them process their loss.

Women are currently entitled to six months leave if they lose a baby after 24 weeks

The study reads: “For women and their partners this has contributed to a disenfranchisement of their loss, in addition to an under acknowledgement of the multidimensional reality of the impact of pregnancy loss.

“In addition to the emotional experience, pregnancy loss has a physical and health related impacts, requiring varying levels of medical care and support – which can include both medical and surgical intervention.”

There have also been calls to introduce paid leave for their partner. This will then give them time to support them following the loss.

Currently, women are entitled to six months’ leave if they experience baby loss after 24 weeks.

Statutory paid leave in Ireland is three days, but there are plans to increase this to 10 days by 2026.

Do you think paid leave should be introduced for people who lose babies before 2024?

You can read the full report here.

Anam Cara supports women who have suffered miscarriages and baby loss. You can contact them on 085 2888 888