Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection Claire Kerrane has today published a motion calling for the extension of paid maternity leave by an additional 12 weeks for women whose maternity leave is due to expire.
This is to address how the Covid-19 pandemic has made many women’s experiences of maternity leave during lockdown particularly challenging and due to on-going difficulties in securing childcare for young infants.
Speaking as she published the motion today, Teachta Kerrane said: “I have been contacted by many mothers who have been deeply anxious about returning from maternity leave during this uniquely difficult time.
“Many have felt robbed of support that they desperately wanted but couldn’t have while raising a newborn during the lockdown. They have missed medical check-ups which were postponed due to the lockdown, as well as being denied support from family and friends.
“Now, due to childcare shortages, many are struggling to find any childcare facilities willing to take a young baby. They are anxiously watching the date that they are due to return to work inch closer, without having appropriate arrangements in place for their baby to be looked after.
“This needs to be changed so that families can get the support they need and deserve.
“Today I have published a motion calling for the extension of paid maternity leave by an additional 12 weeks for women who choose to avail of it. This will be for women whose claim is due to expire between the start of March and the end of November.
“These women have worked hard, paid their taxes and are now asking the Government to do right by them at a time when they and their families need support.
“I am calling on all TDs to do the right thing and back this in the interest of fairness for families.”
Notes to editors:
1. The additional leave would be optional and would apply to women whose leave is due to expire between the start of March and end of November.
2. Sinn Féin continues to advocate for its manifesto pledge to extend maternity leave to 12 months, as well as extending paternity leave rights for fathers
3. The measure would cost an estimated €78 million