Sinn Féin TD for North Kildare, Réada Cronin, has criticised Minister Roderic O’Gorman for trying to delay her Bill giving workers the legal right to parental bereavement leave, calling his actions “uncalled for and cruel”.
The Parental Bereavement Leave (Amendment) Bill, co-sponsored by Sinn Féin spokesperson on Workers’ Rights, Louise O’Reilly TD, sets out to establish such leave on a legal basis, independent of, and separate to, all other leave, and to have it recognised as a period of continuous employment in the matter of any subsequent length-of-service, pension or other considerations.
In the Dáil today, Teachta Cronin asked the Minister to withdraw his amendment to delay the proposed legislation for 12 months.
Teachta Cronin said:
“Bereaved parents should not have to wait for the legal right to take ten days’ leave within six weeks of the death of their child. It is certainly not excessive, and such a right is long overdue.
“Employees must be able to avail of this leave as a legal right, not as a favour requested from, or granted, by an employer.
“Our bill is a gentle bill, but a strong one. It shows compassion for employees and gives clarity to employers on what is expected at a time of profound loss and shock.
“I expect many workers think this leave already exists – that if the worst happened, leave would be there for them automatically as their right. But it is not, and it needs to be – urgently.
“The Minister’s attempts to delay this long-overdue right. His refusal to show compassion in action and legislation, not merely words, are inexplicable.
“The government is cynically trying to delay the passage of this legislation with their amendment. This is just plain wrong – they know what the right thing to do is and they should drop their amendment.”
Teachta O’Reilly said:
“This legislation is about taking a compassionate approach to bereavement and ensuring that parents have some time off to grieve and to make necessary arrangements – many employers already provide this leave on a grace-and-favour basis.
“And, indeed, it is not lost on those working in the private sector that this leave is already available to serving civil servants, but this needs to be put on a statutory footing to ensure that all workers can benefit from it.”