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NWCI calls for a one-off extension to maternity leave and pay

Published: Tuesday, July 07, 2020

The National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) and a group of new mothers who formed the Extend Maternity Campaign will hold a Photocall outside the Dail today. Women who were on maternity leave during Covid-19 did not have access to the usual supports, and NWCI are supporting their calls for a once-off extension to maternity leave and pay by three months. 

Orla O’Connor, Director of NWCI said,

“This is a real opportunity for our new Government to show their commitment to women’s equality and to extend maternity leave and pay for women who gave birth during Covid by three months. In many cases, women gave birth without a partner or loved one present, and faced into motherhood without family or professional support. Babies have missed developmental checks, vital scans, hospital appointments and even vaccinations have been cancelled or delayed. In addition, mothers could not access the many support groups that provide critical support when becoming a new mum. It is crucial that maternity leave and pay is extended for these women so that they can catch up on missed developmental checks and hospital appointments.”

Paula Solan, one of the women leading the campaign said,

“There was an initial positive response from then Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, on June 11 2020, after we handed in a petition signed by 28,000 people, calling for this extension to maternity leave and pay. There is a real urgency to this situation, as many of the women impacted are due back at work in the next week or two. We are already hearing from women being forced to resign from their jobs due to the lack of childcare available for this age group. We’re calling on Minister Helen McEntee and Minister Heather Humphries to agree to this extension of three months as a matter of urgency.” 

A Dail motion on this issue prior to the new government formation received cross party support. 

Women affected by this issue will be present with their babies and available for interview, and there will be a photocall with a prop. TDs and Senators will also meet the women and show their support. 

NB: The group does not have a professional photographer and no photos will be circulated to media. Social media photos will be available on request from NWCI.

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For more information, please contact Sarah Clarkin, Communications and Social Media Coordinator, 085 8619087.