We must allow cancer patients to defer maternity leave - O'Callaghan

Published on: 26 March 2024

Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin Bay South Jim O'Callaghan has introduced a new piece of legislation that seeks to amend maternity leave laws to provide for postponement of maternity leave where a mother has been diagnosed with cancer or other serious illness during pregnancy.
Deputy O'Callaghan said, "Each year in Ireland approximately 60 women are diagnosed with cancer during pregnancy or immediately after the birth of their child. Approximately 120 to 150 women per year find themselves in the very distressful position that at a time just after they have given birth to a child and should be enjoying their maternity leave, instead they find themselves in the situation where they are effectively on sick leave and are getting treated for cancer or another serious illness.
"In effect, the maternity leave to which they are entitled never really comes into operation because while they are out from work in the immediate aftermath of the birth of their child, they are being treated for a serious illness that in ordinary course is covered by sick leave.
"This is an unfortunate, and clearly not an intended, circumstance that exists within our legislation. It is, however, something that could and should be rectified.''