A group of new mothers, who formed the Extend Maternity Campaign, met outside the Dail today to demand a three month extension to maternity leave. Women who were on maternity leave during COVID-19 did not have access to the usual supports, and digital campaigning organisation Uplift and NWCI are supporting their calls for a once-off extension to maternity leave and pay by three months.
The women have not received a response from Ministers, despite campaigning for months. 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.”
Shae Flanagan from Uplift added: "28,000 Uplift members are demanding that supports for families are put in place now, as they should have been months ago. The campaign group – along with their babies - are meeting outside the Dáil for the second time in as many months as they need help immediately. The responsible Ministers need to act.”
A Dáil motion on this issue prior to the new government formation received cross party support, but no extension has been granted.